ULTRACART Ecommerce Articles

Adjusting The eCommerce Storefront For Tablet Users

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The widespread popularity of the tablet has changed consumer behavior, and many online merchants are adjusting their ecommerce storefronts to adapt. Last year 66.9 million tablets were sold around the world. With these devices, consumers can conveniently customize and digest a variety of information in short amounts of time. The size of a tablet's screen allows for simpler navigation than the average smartphone, and its slim size is less clumsy than a laptop, making it a refreshing portable alternative to "chained to the desktop" browsing. The size and capabilities of tablets more aptly facilitate online shopping than smartphones, thus providing a more accessible ecommerce storefront than ever before. A recent eMarketer report predicted that one in three online customers will use a


How to Simplify E-commerce Credit Card Processing

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The majority of online customers want to use credit cards on the e-commerce sites they visit. Online merchants typically need to provide a simple credit card processing system that doesn't interrupt the sale at any point and provides a simple way to manage transactions.

However, the key is to find a way to streamline the checkout process. Think of the many reasons why a customer could leave your online store. There are quite a few ways a sale can go south before the final purchase is made. Online merchants need to make the sales process as painless and simple


Selling Digital Assets Using A Digital Download Shopping Cart

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Whether you are now selling digital media or not, the advantages of either doing it exclusively or even adding it to a physical product line are big:

  • No inventory, shipping or fulfillment costs
  • The ability to customize and offer different versions of the products for different audiences and at different pricepoints
  • The potential for recurring revenue, as in the case of ongoing subscriptions
  • The ease and potential for selling worldwide if the product can be translated to different languages (or sold domestically to a non-native language speaking group)
  • There are typically a wide range of


eCommerce Shipping Secrets Every Online Merchant Should Know

Ecommerce Shipping Secrets

Everyone dislikes shipping costs. Customers dislike it. Companies dislike it. Despite rising postal prices, most consumers expect shipping discounts or promotions when they make an online purchase. Dissatisfaction with shipping cost is one of the primary causes of shopping cart abandonment. Shipping makes up a sizable percentage of the cost for each item sold; therefore, defining a smart ecommerce shipping policy is crucial to maximizing profits.

Shopping cart email is one of the highest return on investment marketing actions online retailers can take, yet most make common mistakes like not incenting customers to opt in to their email campaigns, or not providing information or an offer to pre


Assessing The Market Size/Potential For An Ecommerce Website Product/Service

Market Size

If you run (or are thinking about running) an eCommerce website that has the option of offering new products, there is always the question of which ones will sell and which won't. And it's not just an academic one. Even if you don't explicitly support that product with direct, paid promotion (like pay per click ads), the products you choose to add to your site still take resources if you are serious about making money from them such as:

  • Inventory costs (if you choose to stock the item)
  • Drafting/testing effective product descriptions (since using the manufacturers/wholesalers description will be considered duplicate content by Google, MSN and Yahoo and not likely indexed highly in the search engines)
  • Acquiring, formatting and posting product photographs
  • Price maintenance (making sure your pricing is at parity with the market requires research


Weighing Your Online Retailing Promo Options: eCommerce Advertising Tips

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For online businesses first engaging in ecommerce advertising, the options may seem daunting. eCommerce advertising on the web implements a variety of marketing techniques including email campaigns, pay-per-click ads, affiliate programs, YouTube channels, and an established social presence. But in this space, things change constantly. So perhaps it's time to examine the most popular ecommerce advertising approaches to determine the best fit to spawn traffic to your online shopping cart.

AdCast is an example of an alternative pay per click display network that creates a new ecommerce advertising experience. These ads are powerful, yet minimally intrusive and appear either in the body of the website or in a dedicated area around the margin to decrease "banner ad blindness" in which readers routinely ignore the advertisements.

ecommerce advertising

Pay-Per-Click (PPC


eCommerce Design Tips: Shopping Carts That Entice Visitors To Buy

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Today's ecommerce market provides a wide selection of goods and services. Unless an ecommere merchant has the benefit of an established brand presence, their products will be competing with hundreds and thousands of similar items. An online merchant needs to build their business with a unique marketing strategy that promotes their remarkable services. Quality shopping carts entice customers to spend more, while poorly-designed ones drive people to their competitors' sites. An ecommerce design strategy must prioritize the shopping cart since this is an area where many companies lose business. Learn and then practice the following ecommerce design tips to creating a sleek shopping car that turns visitors into buyers.

Effective ecommerce design makes online shopping more convenient than physical stores. Using familiar shopping cart icons, like


Fixing Typical eCommerce Problems

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eCommerce opens up the smallest business to the global market. The prospects excite entrepreneurs who dream of maximizing their companies' exposure. But it takes more than merely owning a site to make this dream a reality. Customers expect certain standards from online retailers. They want to trust them with their most private account information. A company's disruption of this trust inevitably leads to website abandonment. Avoid many problems ecommerce businesses face by heeding principles that create a convenient, safe, and pleasant shopping environment for consumers.

Poor shopping cart product descriptions and layout can be confusing for potential buyers and is one of a series of common eCommerce problems that online retailers can make for themselves. Often the answers include better site design, better product descritpions, adding or improving photographs to make them more


eCommerce Report: Identifying and Integrating Major Growth Factors

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According to an ecommerce report released by the Virginia-based research firm ComScore, ecommerce spending rose 14% in the fourth quarter of 2011. U.S. online spending reached $161.5 billion last year, a 13% increase from 2010. One in every ten dollars of discretionary spending is now disposed on the internet. This ecommerce report spells good news for online retailers recovering from sales dips over the past two years. Convenience and price are widely accepted as the driving forces behind this ecommerce growth. Exploring specific behaviors contributing to last year's growth factors and building a business strategy around them will guarantee you a share of the success predicted in future ecommerce reports.

Last year marked a huge recovery in the ecommerce market. This comScore, Inc. ecommerce report gives online retailers confidence for 2012.


Building eCommerce Success: Understanding Conversion Rates

Conversion Rates

Online merchants evaluate their ecommerce success with a flood of data recorded online. While the internet's impressive tracking abilities simplify data collection, it takes a motivated and committed site owner to regularly analyze the numerous variables of an ecommerce success strategy. The fundamental ecommerce focus on conversion rates requires attention paid to a simple equation with a staggering number of variables.

Merchants evaluate their ecommerce success with a flood of data recorded online. While the internet's impressive tracking abilities simplify data collection, it takes a motivated and committed site owner to regularly analyze the numerous variables of an ecommerce success strategy. The fundamental ecommerce focus, conversion rates, requires attention paid to a simple equation with a staggering number of variables.

ecommerce success



Rethinking the Product Pitch: Ecommerce Video That Sells

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Video possesses unique social and persuasive powers. One Egyptian activist noted this power during the country's revolution in March of 2011: "We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world." People enjoy the rapid absorption of information that video provides. From an ecommerce perspective, video combines the information conveyed by photos and text with more realistic representations. It "manipulates" products to transform the online shopping experience. eCommerce video engages viewers by accessing multiple senses simultaneously. Statistics from Kissmetrics, a web analytics company, report viewers are 64-85% more likely to buy after watching a video. This should incite retailers to seize new profit opportunities with ecommerce video.

The multiple benefits of ecommerce video should attract many companies


Where To Start If You Want To Be An Affilate Marketer In The Retail Sphere

Affiliate websites are often categorized by merchants (advertisers) and affiliate networks. There are currently no industry-wide standards for the categorization. The following types of websites, portals and search engines are generic, yet are commonly understood and used by retailers when they want to be an affiliate marketer. The key in creating and managing an effective affiliate marketing program is to evaluate, choose, test and optimize the general area and affiliate choices in those areas. Here are a few of the key sources of websites that can enable a merchant to be an affiliate marketer.

Individual Websites That Wish To Be An Affiliate

Asking website owners to resell your product is in effect the cornerstone of any affiliate marketing program.

However, this concept is fading fast in light of all of the variations in reaching those site owners


Mobile Shopping Carts: They're Not Just For Early Adopters Anymore

Mobile devices boast the ability to keep people and their ideas connected. This promise has enticed millions of people each year to revere these devices as essentials, thus demanding online businesses adapt their websites to meet the mobile market. Instead of making online purchases strictly from a home desktop, mobile devices allow users to browse the web while they are riding a train to work, eating out, or sitting in a doctor's waiting room. This convenience is an exciting shift for eCommerce retailers, and those who want to maintain competition will adapt their websites to meet consumers who use mobile shopping carts.

Don't think you need a mobile version of your shopping cart? Tech research group Gartner predicts that by 2014, more people will reach websites via their phone than through personal computers. Comscore recently reported that nearly 7% of


Capitalizing On Online Shopping Behavior Trends


On average, 71% of shopping carts are abandoned. This observation is the chief concern among ecommerce retailers. But progressive online merchants and those companies which support them are tracking many online shopping behaviors to better align their services with new consumer trends. One of the key questions to answer is why consumers behave the way they do so they can determine how to incorporate digital media at crucial times to influence buyers' decisions. By uncovering a buyer's specific informational or emotional needs during the purchase process, digital retailers can brainstorm how to deliver the right content at the right times to fulfill them. These online shopping behaviors interest all savvy retailers. To aid in this quest, this article combines data from seven studies analyzing online shopping behavior over the last two years and provides business


Riding The Latest Social Media Wave: Pinterest eCommerce Marketing Strategies

Pinterest has rapidly turned into the next ecommerce playground. Monetate reports that the same-store referral traffic from Pinterest for five specialty apparel retailers rose 389% from July through December of 2011. While Pinterest's user base is still primarily female, the site is driving enough ecommerce traffic for retailers to take notice and begin developing Pinterest ecommerce strategies.Any marketing analysts who had written off Pinterest after its 2009 launch, cannot ignore the recent astounding statistics swarming the company:

  • Pinterest's unique visitors increased 429% from September through December of 2012 (Monetate).
  • Pinterest currently drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined (Shareaholic's January 2012 Referral Traffic Report).
  • The number of Pinterest users grew from 1.68 million to 1.


How to Boost Your Ecommerce Marketing By Selling An E-book

There are extraordinary revenue and ecommerce marketing opportunities in the E-reader market with the growing ad option of E-readers and tablet computers such as the iPad. According to the Pew Internet Research Center's latest report ,29% of Americans own either a tablet computer or an E-reader—a 10% jump in roughly a month's time. In fact, Forrester Research predicts that 30 million people in the U.S. will own an E-reading device by 2015.

With this growing wave of E-readers, E-book selling is fast becoming a key tool for both income generation and marketing among ecommerce businesses.

Content that appeals to search engines may not be the same as that which sells a customer since search engines reward more general, more educational content, while those who are more ready to purchase are interested in features, functions and benefits. A good SEO eCommerce


Navigating The eCommerce Giant: How To Sell on Amazon


Hosting over 1.5 million visitors a day, Amazon.com has developed so formidable an ecommerce presence that it effectively absorbs its competition, trading high-profile exposure for its share of the overall revenue carried through this portal. The massive market potential tempts many ecommerce retailers to sell on Amazon. And while many companies do operate profitably on Amazon.com, as with any sales channel, it is essential that online merchants go to market correctly on this behemoth of a sales medium. (In fact, one of the key choices to make in deciding to use this medium is whether, in the end, it peforms as well or better than what a merchant can do independently with their own website and a suitable third party shopping cart like UltraCart.)

selling on amazon

The 900 pound gorilla of online marketplaces, Amazon.com has surpassed eBay, Sears and other online venues for


Making Sure You Have The World's Ultimate SEO Shopping Cart


For many merchants, organic listings of their products are a gift from the gods, but perhaps just as elusive. Retailers often have a hard time achieving top rank for their products, often because the basic rules for creating an SEO shopping cart orientation aren't followed. Sometimes there's little they can do about it – particularly if the shopping cart software they are using doesn't offer what's easiest and best for the search engines to pick up on. But, even in these cases, there are many work a rounds that can be performed. Here are some of the most important ones.


what is ecommerce strategy

Having a true SEO shopping cart that is optimized for search engine placement can start with simple checks like seeing how many pages of your site are indexed in Google using their "Site:yoursite.com" command as shown above.


What Is In A Name (Or Search Term) For An SEO


Interested In Free Traffic From A Good eCommerce SEO Effort?

eCommerce SEO is not easy. Most merchants focus on their product listings, which of course is where the sales (or conversions) are. But for those who are truly seeking to gain those coveted free organic listings in Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines, there has to be more than a product listing. The plain fact is that search engines reward sites who have content, "good" content, the more the better. So what exactly is good content from an SEO eCommerce point of view, and how do you achieve it without creating a second job (department, business, etc.) for yourself?

seo ecommerce content trade offs

Content that appeals to search engines may not be the same as that which sells a customer since search engines reward more general, more educational content, while those who are more ready to purchase are interested in features, functions and benefits. A good SEO eCommerce effort will


How Often Do You Lose Customers Because Of A Shopping Cart's Design?

Shopping cart design, a topic that seems to have a million answers, so which way do you go?

For many merchants, designing the shopping cart portion of their site is given to a third party, over whom they may feel they have little control. "Select and forget" may seem a comforting response. But even when a merchant has made a large commitment to a shopping cart design (and most do), there are elements that are in their control. In fact, some of the most high functionality, pre-designed shopping carts have a tremendous amount of flexibility in how they are setup. (UltraCart, as an example, has the option of "drilling down" into very specific areas/settings for many categories ranging from a myriad of product customization options to highly customized SSL setup.)

Given this level of empowerment, it makes sense for merchants to maximize their


Shopping Cart Email Marketing: High Return On Investment- If It's Done Correctly


There's very few marketing approaches for online retailers as effective and cheap as email marketing. Shopping carts and e-mail marketing go together, but many companies are using different services for their shopping carts and their e-mail lists. This puts them at an extreme disadvantage since they'll have to pull together and maintain two e-mail marketing lists: one from the shopping cart and the other from the e-mail marketing campaign list. Integrating your e-mail with a shopping cart service minimizes the amount of work you need to do and keeps your e-mails tied to your shopping cart—which is exactly how it's supposed to be in the first place.


mobile shopping cart considerations

Shopping cart email is one of the highest return on investment marketing actions online retailers can take, yet most make common mistakes like not incenting customers to opt in to


Copy And Image Procurement/Development For Online Shopping Cart (Product And General Interest) Modules

Attractive photos and compelling product descriptions are critical components of your shopping cart module, and can make a drastic difference to your conversion rate.   When putting your content together, a shopping cart owner's aim should be to use words and images in their various modules which provide a customer experience as close as possible to buying in a physical store-a successful physical store that is. If your ecommerce site has tiny images which don't show the item off to its best advantage, or descriptions that don't match the image, leaving doubt about whether the product solves their problem, the customer could soon be clicking away empty-handed.  


The combination of the shopping cart module's words and images is essentially an automated salesperson for that product. So it's worth


Putting The Horse Before The (Shopping)Cart: What Online Merchants Need To Do Before Shopping Cart Setup

With Americans spending nearly $31 billion dollars online during last year's holiday shopping season, many new ecommerce retailers are eager to solidify their shopping cart setup and begin advertising. Depending on the shopping cart setup approach chosen, learning curves can be steep. Merchants must have clear business objectives when researching different shopping cart platforms. But there are several steps a merchant can take to prepare for business online even before shopping cart setup to facilitate a smooth transition to the ecommerce marketplace.

shopping cart setup The process of shopping cart setup need not slow down retailers who are eager to begin selling online. Adequately preparing for the ecommerce launch and selecting a quality shopping cart provider are essential steps for efficient startup. For example, shopping

Social eCommerce Strategies: Turning "Likes" Into An eCommerce Livelyhood

Embracing social media eCommerce and maximizing its advertising potential can catapult a business to financial success. With popular websites like Facebook and Twitter housing hundreds of millions of users, savvy companies now use these media platforms to communicate with their customers in a more regular and personal way than ever before. Social ecommerce offers a special hope for small businesses wanting to compete in the global market, but lacking the big business advertising budgets.

Web advertising offers many advantages over traditional forms. Online ads are not only cheaper than magazine, newspaper, radio, television, and billboard ads, but they also speak to more targeted audiences for each dollar spent. Ads on social media sites can be designated to appear based on a member's profile preferences. Social ecommerce also provides


What Is Affiliate Management For The eCommerce Merchant? How To Maintain An Online Affiliate Network

By 2014 the affiliate channel is projected to reach $4 billion. What is affiliate growth attributed to Many online merchants who have taken advantage of this marketing approach have seen increased profits and brand exposure. A recent Forrester Research report discovered that consumers often view deals offered on affiliate sites as superior to the same offer on the merchant's website. Affiliate networks are low-risk investments for ecommerce retailers because the merchants choose the working terms, and pay is typically performance-based. Online merchants use affiliate channels in many ways including:

  • To dispose of outdated merchandise
  • Trial new offers and connect with bargain shoppers
  • Reach specific segments or types of shoppers (who are more likely to visit a topic-focused affiliate site)
  • Test entirely


What Is eCommerce's Best "Must Win" Strategy?

The growth in online sales continues to attract more entrants to the segment. But as with any enterprise, there are keys to making sure that the effort is a successful one. Sadly, so often the basics that go into making an online success are ignored and the result is needless loss of time, investment and self-image. True, the effort is often a highly variable, one and what is eCommerce success to one may be a disappointment to others. Yet, here are some key elements (from our experience and others) that simply must be considered before (and during) the big jump.

1. Do you have a product and a market that is eCommerce supportive?

This is the time to be realistic. What good is an eCommerce effort when there are so many doing the same exact thing in a limited market where sources, prices and inventory is pretty much the same across all suppliers? There may always be room for one more,


What Is Fulfillment And How It Can Make Or Break An eCommerce Effort

If you're asking "what is fulfillment" and you are either an existing online merchant, or thinking about it, you may be facing these situations:

  • You've started fulfilling (warehousing your inventory, receiving and shipping orders, handling returns/customer service and perhaps even doing some basic assembly or configuration of your products) and you've outgrown it, or it's becoming burdensome or unprofitable
  • You are just getting started in eCommerce and are wondering whether it's more effective or even less costly to outsource your fulfillment to a third party
  • You're experiencing or (better) planning for potential surges in business that will outstrip your current fulfillment capabilities
  • You are facing an increase in fulfillment related expenses which could include local tax, fees or regulation costs; an increase in facilities costs, software


What IS SSL Authentication, Why Every Shopping Site Should Have One (Or Two, or Three…)

For online retailers whose brands may not be as far reaching as the nationals, creating immediate trust is often the difference between clicking on a product or the back button. And while trust building should occur throughout the site, it's most critical when the user approaches the actual purchase. To avoid shopping cart abandonment, using an SSL based URL address can bring more confidence to a skittish buyer…and some protection for the retailer against frivolous credit card chargeback claims. So, exactly what is SSL?

what is SSL for online merchants

What is SSL's main advantage to a retailer? The confidence that it instills in consumers who are deailing with just about any type of financial transactions.

SSL stands for secure sockets layer (more on what that is later) and was invented by Netscape, one of the early browser companies, to provide more security


Writing eCommerce Product Descriptions That Sell, Sell, Sell...

Writing Product Descriptions

Even in the days of massive retail sites with thousands of products that are often "bulk uploaded" from a database, product descriptions are still a critical factor in deciding whether a visitor to an ecommerce store buys or not. Working together, the description and photos should give the website visitor all the same information, and the same sense of desire, that they'd get by viewing the product in a physical store. If they're left in any doubt about exactly what the features of the product are, or how it will benefit them, they'll move on without hesitation.

Writing product descriptions, along with having great product photos, is therefore a vital tool which the store owner can use to take control of their sales.

Writing Product Descriptions Writing Product Descriptions Writing product descriptions is an art, but once mastered it can provide SEO benefits as well as compelling visitors to