Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 Ways To Boost Your EShop Sales

Tip of the day - Need company name? Try crowdsourcing
"At Squarespace, we noticed that the things that make a big difference can seem very small," Atkinson said. "For instance, changing the color of a button on our site increased sales. We also found that you can double conversions just by moving some key phrases from the left side to the right."

Based on data SumAll collected, here are 10 tips for turning traffic into sales:

1. "My" works better than "your." "'Start my free trial now' will get more clicks than 'Start your free trial now'," Atkinson says. "The word 'my' suggests to people that it's already theirs, so why not claim it?"

2. If your service is free, emphasize that. Adding "100% free" or "Get started for free" will always help boost conversion. When SumAll added "100% free" to its site's headline, sales jumped by 18%.

3. Reassure potential customers that privacy is respected. When asking for an email address, "make sure to clearly state that it's for your eyes only -- for example, 'We won't ever sell your information. We hate spam too'," Atkinson says.

4. Use active phrases on buttons. "Don't ever label buttons with the word 'Submit'. It isn't descriptive enough," said Atkinson. "Instead, make sure the button says something like 'Get instant access'."

5. Colors matter, and orange buttons encourage people to buy. The reason behind it is a bit of a mystery, but Atkinson thinks it's partly because "sites like Amazon and eBay have so popularized orange buttons that they've become what people expect."

6. Placement matters. On your homepage, make sure images and videos are on the left, while the call to action is on the right. "Western audiences tend to read from left to right, so this simple tweak is surprisingly effective," Atkinson said. At SumAll, this one change boosted conversion by 5%.

7. Personalize recommendations. Use product badges to indicate when something is "new" or a "staff pick" or "just for you." Small as it seems, it goes a long way toward encouraging browsers to buy.

8. Be consistent. Make sure the copy and design of your advertising matches the copy and design of your site, Atkinson advised. "Breaking this continuity, which is a kind of 'scent trail' between ads and online pages, can seriously hurt conversion."

9. Be cautious about using videos. "Those fancy videos startups love can cut both ways," Atkinson observed. SumAll has seen videos discourage conversion as often as they improve it, especially if they're too long. After about 90 seconds, potential customers tend to get bored and wander off.

10. Constantly test what works and what doesn't. Even basics like your company's slogan should be reevaluated. When SumAll changed the tag line on its site from "The world's best tracking tool" to the friendlier "All your social media in one place," conversions shot up by 60%.

[Via - CNNMoney]

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why Enterprise Social Networking Fails

1. Too social

The first generation of enterprise social collaboration tools, as epitomized by Yammer or Jive, were essentially Facebook or Twitter clones built for companies with the idea collaboration revolves around communications. However, it is now exceedingly clear that in many organizations, especially smaller ones, collaboration revolves around specific business tools, typically project management, document management or CRM – not social networking. The second generation of ESNs effectively solves the problem by seamlessly integrating sales, planning, communication and HR tools into your company intranet or private social network, giving your employees a reason to use it on a daily basis for their work routine.

2. Top down implementation

Vendors and consultants frequently stress how important it is to get support fr om top management and start implementation with them. But contrary to this “common wisdom” this strategy frequently doesn’t work. In order for social collaboration to be strong in a company, it has to have grassroot support. Selling enterprise social to C-level executives and decision makers may be much easier (that’s exactly why vendors and consultants do this) but it is, to borrow a political analogy, astroturfing. Especially since management uses these tools very differently than regular workers. In reality, there are individuals and departments in your company, typically sales, marketing and IT, who are very open to social tools and you should tap into their knowledge and enthusiasm first. This will make choosing the right solution for your company and implementing it MUCH easier.

3. No/wrong usage metrics

This is a big one. Because early social collaboration solutions mirrored social networks, they adopted the same approach to analytics – how many posts were made, which posts got most likes, which users are most active and so on. But as far as company wide adoption goes, different metrics is important. What percentage of registered users actually use the solutions on a daily basis? Which particular tools are they using? How many use desktop or mobile app? Identifying people and specific tools which are underused allows to quickly overcome problems with implementation and help those who are struggling. Coupled with gamification strategy that actively engages employees and encourages them to explore all available features, you get ‘natural’ adoption that is much better than using ‘brute force’ or hiring consultants.

4. Got to be mobile

One of the main advantages that comes with social collaboration tools is that your employees and co-workers become available almost 24/7. You’ll see people use company network on weekends and during holidays. Questions get answered much quicker than via e-mail. That’s where the importance of good mobile app comes in. And it has to be a true mobile app – not mobile optimized site or responsive design, because you will not get push notifications, contact synchronization and other features that are possible with the mobile app only. It may not seem important at first, but when testing different social collaboration solutions you absolutely should test mobile apps as well. Otherwise your most mobile employees will switch to WhatsApp, WeChat or their clones, and abandon your company network, creating a split.

5. Work together

Buying CRM does not mean you’ll get swamped with orders next week. Using project management does not guarantee all our projects will always be on time. Likewise, enterprise collaboration tools will help you immensely only if your company already has the culture of sharing and working together. Don’t buy into ‘Enterprise 2.0’ hype and don’t expect miracles. Don’t trust vendors that make overly optimistic ROI claims – the numbers probably made up anyway. But while social collaboration tools can’t be used as a substitute for culture change, they are oftentimes extremely good at identifying problems and bottlenecks by making your company and its business processes more transparent. The difficulties and outright failures that you encounter along the path can help you make necessary organizational changes that may not have been obvious before.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Best Trello Alternative

When it comes to Trello, the problem isn’t that Trello is simple it’s that Trello is too simple. At first I really loved using Trello, but after a couple of weeks I started to get annoyed – why can’t you do that? Why aren’t there time reports or integration with CRM? And the Gantt chart fiasco? Forget about it. The good news is that there are a ton of alternative project management solutions out there, most of which are free. Here are my three favorite tools to replace Trello

Bitrix24 vs Trello – if you do a lot of collaboration, work with documents a lot and want a complete solution. Bitrix24 is 100% free for small teams (12 users) and comes with a full range of PM tools – tasks, check lists, Gantt charts, workgroups (projects), task reports, calendars, work reports, time management and even absence chart. The most powerful thing about Bitrix24 is that it is a collaboration suite, so it makes it really easy for teams to do everything (including document management) in one place. Bitrix24 also comes with free CRM that integrates with project management, something that neither Asana nor Wrike offer. API is available. Another important advantage workflow management that’s done with a native business process designer. Naturally, there are mobile apps available for iOS and Android. Who it is for – GEEKS or ADVANCED USERS. Bitrix24 is extremely easy to use, but not necessarily to set ups – because it’s very technical and geeky, countless options. In my (biased?) view – Bitrix24 is the best Trello replacement, especially since it’s the only solution that gives you both options – use it online or host in on your own servers.

Asana vs Trello – both solutions are very visually oriented, which is good for newbees, but immediately limits ‘professional’ use. Like Trello, Asana is free for all practical purposes, so that’s a significant advantage. Asana used to be free for 30 users and the limit has been lowered to 15 free users. This may change at the time you are reading this review. Like Bitrix24, Asana is geared toward a more structured project management (i.e. top down management). Asana’s collaboration features, though not as rich as Bitrix24, are also geared toward getting things done (pardon my pun). Asana’s text driven interface is also more familiar and easy to work with for most folks, in my opinion. Who it is for – small teams of REGULAR FOLKS with moderate PM demands. If Trello is too simple, but you aren’t the type who reads books about project management, GTD, Kanban, Agile – Asanais perfect Trello alternative for you.

Wrike vs Trello – these two are hard to compare. It’s kind of like a boxing champion beating up a third grader, not that hard to do and not really an accomplishment for the boxer. Wrikeis an ubergeek PM platform. It’s not free, in fact it’s somewhat expensive and has been in continuous development for over 6 years. Most Wrike’s clients are very large companies with very specific demands, so it’s very flexible can be customized, though not necessarily easily, if your coding skills are poor. API is available. Wrike can be integrated with MS Projects and Apple Mail, has advanced task filters and supports dashboard with custom widgets. Who it is for – LARGE COMPANIES and PM UBERGEEKS. Wrike is PM ubergeek dream come true. It really shines if you have company with hundreds or thousands of employees who run tens of thousands of projects. I believe that Wrike has recently publicized the fact that they have one single client (a very large transnational corporation) who has created over one million projects using Wrikes platform. You can't do that with Trello. If your company is small, however, you best chose between Bitrix24 and Asana, because not only Wrike’s freemium option is limited to five users, it actually comes without some basic PM features, like Gantt charts, which are available only use premium users. My guess is that this is a deliberate decision by their marketing team to attract only large project management literate clients who can take advantage of otherwise awesome PM platform.

[Via - Best Trello Altrnative

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

From Bottle To A Shot Glass - Crazy Business Ideas

Tip of the day - Need company name? Try crowdsourcing
Tucked in a warehouse a mile from the Las Vegas Strip, a handful of employees cut, grind, sand and polish glass — turning tourists' trash into treasure.

It's the business of bottles, and there's certainly no shortage in Las Vegas. The Strip's 24-hour party cycle sends scores of empty liquor, wine and beer bottles to the trash, much of it destined for burial at a landfill.

The demise of this perfectly good glass troubled Steve Cherry, founder of Bottles & Wood, a new Las Vegas-based company that repurposes discarded alcohol bottles.

"The last thing we should be doing with these bottles is crushing it and filling a landfill," he said. "That does nothing for anyone."

His business idea didn't start in Las Vegas, though. A Southern California native, Cherry began repurposing glass water bottles to make candleholders for a friend's restaurant. Customers approved of the new decor and asked where to buy it.

A sudden demand for the unique glassware got Cherry, a former software executive, thinking: Could this little side business be the start of something greater?

"I was like a shop guy when I was a kid," he said. "Never thought I was going to make a living at it."

Fast forward to July. That's when Cherry moved his burgeoning business into warehouse space with a view of the Strip on the west side of Interstate 15. He pays 40 cents a square foot to rent the space and, so far, employs a dozen people.

"There are more liquor bottles coming out of this one-mile Strip than in Southern California," Cherry said, explaining his rationale for moving to Las Vegas. "It's an enormous anomaly."

In a sense, his business model emulates the actual recycling process: He takes unwanted glass bottles from Las Vegas establishments, repurposes them and sells the new products back to wholesalers, tourists and locals. His glassware, ranging in price from $7.50 to $50 per piece, can be bought online or in gift shops.

Have a favorite liquor brand? There's probably a product made from it. Drinking glasses made from Grey Goose vodka bottles line one display shelf. Across the way, there's a light fixture featuring glass from a Jack Daniel's whiskey bottle. Other products include candleholders, candy bowls, wine tumblers and jewelry.

Cherry said his company was pursuing trademark licensing agreements with major liquor brands.

"We don't put any logos on anything we do," he said. " We just take existing product and repurpose it."

The "wood" part of the company name refers to a similar venture in California's wine country. The company's San Francisco factory takes old wine barrels and creates products, such as cheese trays and cutting boards.

In Las Vegas, Bottles & Wood has received discarded bottles from the Mob Bar, Bar + Bistro, Triple George and Krave, to name a few, Cherry said. He's working with Strip properties but can't yet disclose their names.

It's an opportunity Cherry calls a "win-win-win" for all involved. Bottles & Wood pays establishments 10 cents to 50 cents per bottle of liquor or specialty beer, he said.

"The hotels pay by the ton to have their glass hauled away," he said. "So if we take away a ton a week, it's less money they pay."

Cherry also views his new company as a way to make an impact in Nevada, a state known for its scarce environmental laws. He hopes to offer tours of the Las Vegas factory to school groups.

The 58-year-old admits his new venture is a far cry from software company boardrooms — and the ocean, for that matter. He's an avid sailor.

"I thought it was time for me to give back to the community," he said. "Doing software is horribly financially rewarding and empty in every other sense of job satisfaction."

Just don't ask about his favorite drink. It's water, he says, laughing as he looks at all the repurposed alcohol bottles surrounding him.

"I'm not a hard liquor drinker," he said. "I do enjoy my tequila once in a while."

[Via - Business Ideas Blog]

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Saturday, February 08, 2014

BigCommerce Coupons And Giveaway

Site of the day -, world's first risk free naming agency

All venture capitalists have got startup business plans piling on their desks every single day. But how many of them are the breakthrough ideas worth investing in? Australian BigCommerce has proven right to the Massachusetts based venture capital firm General Catalyst. “We quickly signed up our first 1000 customers within three months,” says Eddie Machaalani, the co-funder and co-CEO of BigCommerce, “and now we’re about to hit 20,000 customers after just 17 months.

Mitchell Harper, the other co-founder and co-CEO, explains “you can set up your own online store in a few clicks. We’re growing so quickly because we’ve made it really easy to sell online.”

If you’ve got a product and you need an easy way to sell it and advertise it, BigCommerce might be exactly what you’re looking for. All the marketing tools have been built in and the list of features is countless which targets all potential kinds of client s.

There are e-commerce newbie’s looking for tools to start with: web-based control panel, automated email marketing and almost one hundred store designs. There are e-commerce owners hoping to update and refresh their software with push to Facebook and eBay, SEO and Google Website Optimizer. And there are website designers looking for a ready platform to work with; they’ll look into painless software updates, unlimited design flexibility and premium hosting. To cut the long story short, BigCommerce has got everything for everybody.

The company overview does sound like a cliché online success story. Two IT geeks, a brilliant idea, a lot of hard work, right place, right time, huge demand and a spot on investor. (General Catalyst have also believed in BigFish, airbnb, iWalk and many others). This is how Eddie Machaalani speaks of the beginnings of their cooperation. “When we made the decision to raise capital and did our U.S tour to pitc h different VC firms, General Catalyst had already done a ton of due diligence on the market opportunity, our company and our competitors. They were very eager to invest in the company.”

BigCommerce have recently announced $2M integration fund to follow the market developments and create new better features. The software has now got built-in Pinterest and Quickbooks integration, referral system, a live chat, abandoned cart plugin and many other improvements. They tent to release new features every two weeks.

The software seems to be ahead of its competition (Shopify, Zencart, Magento) according to various online discussions, blogs and comparisons and is only getting better and smarter. E-shopping cart is gaining the whole new meaning. And what does it mean to you? Only one way to find out. (Here is a link for $100 coupon or 30 day free trial provided by BigCommerce for our readers).

[Via - Madconomist.Com]

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