Why I liked Asana invitation/sharing widget?

I use Asana for project management. It’s free (upto 25 users) and its minimal interface/concept makes you more productive.

Well, Asana has this really cool invitation/sharing widget for first time users. I really hate sending annoying invitations for new services I found but this one was something different. See image below and let me know if I’m right.

Asana-invitation

Why I liked it?

I have tried to explain my points on the image below. I am not really good with graphics but it should work. In short, It was a good work on smart copy and minimal design.

  1. Focus on different personas (Asana is for photographer, Sales director and for everyone)
  2. Rational justification with headline – Everyone needs Asana.
  3. Motivation to help others –  Invite your friends so they can get organized now.
  4. Recommendation message – ‘I’m using Asana and though you might like it as well’.
  5. Assurance– Just to make sure that your data won’t be shared.
  6. Clear call to action– ‘Share Asana’ and not typical ‘Invite friends’.

So if you have an app or service which promotes user invitation, time to think again.

An ‘Exact Match Domain’ case

You have read all about Exact Match Domain (EMD) algorithm effect and how it is supposed to remove the low quality websites tricking to get the higher ranks. Here is what Matt Cutts tweeted:

https://twitter.com/mattcutts/statuses/251784203597910016

Well, I have a case to share. I was going through my SpyFu account and searching for keywords with highest CPC. A link to those keywords.

mesothelioma firm is listed on 57th place with CPC of $207.83. I validated this CPC data using Google Adwords tool and it was confirmed. $214.64 for a click. Can you believe that?

Now, I did a quick search for mesothelioma firm and the site http://www.mesotheliomafirm.com/ was on top. I opened the website and WTF! This is just a WordPress website with almost no content.

I was strong believer that EMD update with demote this site. So, there might be some other cases.

  1. A real site in past before the current site to earn the position
  2. Backlink spamming to trick the ranking
  3. Exact match domain effect still exist

I checked Archive.org Wayback machine and looked for any ‘real website’ in past. Found some stored copies but they had the same content as current site. Link to Archive.org result also the post date on current website is 27 Oct 2010, so it doesn’t make any sense.

I also did a backlink analysis on Open Site Explorer and there was nothing in there. No backlinks, Domain authority only 1 and even after that site ranks at top. I never seen any website with only 1 Domain authority to get the top place.

openSiteexplorer-emd

So, the only theory which makes sense that ‘Exact match Domain’ was working for this domain. I have not much results to contradict the EMD algo update but this is some hope for spammers. Got anything to share?

Google Ecommerce tracking in 3DCart

Jenny hired me for a small project – To set up Ecommerce tracking in her 3DCart store. I thought it as a small task but it took more than 15 days. A really long story with so many problems.

What was the major problem?

The major problem was use of Shared SSL or Lack of Dedicated SSL. She was using shared provided (Free one) by 3DCart.

Why shared SSL for 3Dcart is a problem for Ecommerce tracking?

Because if you use shared SSL, all your secure pages will be hosted on subdomain.3dcartstores.com.

And as it is not your primary domain, you need cross-domain tracking to keep up the original traffic source between your domain and subdomain of 3dcartstores. Otherwise you will have self-referral issues and Google Analytics will report that all the sales are coming from yourdomain.com/referral.

Self-Referral-for-BigCommerce1

You won’t be able to track the performance of your Adwords or Facebook Ad campaigns, Email Marketing and ultimately ROI calculation will be really tough.

Also, I couldn’t find any simple cross-domain method for 3DCart. It’s really bad because you’ve to pay for an SSL certificate.

How to setup Ecommerce Tracking?

  1. First of all, Get a dedicated SSL certificate. Buying it from 3DCart makes more sense because they will offer installation and support.
  2. Don’t use default Google Analytics plugin in 3DCart! It seems that it doesn’t report ecommerce sales correctly.
  3. Insert Google Analytics inside your theme manually. Just remember to put it before section.
  4. Go to Settings >Design >Titles and Content and insert the following code in footer section under Checkout#4 file. Capture

And it should work. Now, you can use Google Analytics to track ROI on all your marketing campaigns and channels.

Do you need any help with Analytics for your 3DCart store? Do you want to increase the revenue of your store? Hire meand let’s get started.

How to setup an eCommerce Store in India?

I’m working on a updated version of this article and will publish it soon.

Indian e-commerce sector is booming. I see a new online store every week. Facebook ads are filled by new cloths, electronics, footwear etc.

E-commerce Store ABC

What do you need to set up an online store?

You need at least these four:

  1. Product Catalog
  2. e-commerce Cart/Software/Platform
  3. Payment Gateways
  4. Shipping and Fulfillment services

These are basic requirements for setting up the store. I’ll cover these requirements below. Note: I’m only covering the Technical part here. Marketing, Legal and management advises are not covered.

How to build an online store in India

What I’m going to recommend is only suitable for Small Business owners and applicable if you’ve a small team (or only you), small budget and some cool products.

If you’ve got a good budget and big team, I would recommend to you consult the e-commerce Developers. They may have better solutions to suit your requirements.

Creating your Product Catalog

A product catalog is the list of products which you’re going to sell. You can think about creating a sheet of Products and their different attributes such as SKUs, colors, size, weight etc.

I recommend using Google Product Feed Specification because it’s being used by many carts. When you’ve got your Product Catalog (Usually an excel sheet), you can import into Shopping platforms and all the data will be copied.

Ecommerce software/platform + Payment Gateways

I’ve joined the Platform and supported gateways together. Note: I’m not reviewing any Payment Gateways here .

1) Shopify for India with DirecPay/PayU (The Easiest)

Shopify-logo

No doubt, Shopify is the easiest way to start your own store. It’s more merchant friendly and has bigger integration portfolio. It has wonderful support for mobile devices. Shopify also offers support for Mobile Commerce and your customer can shop using their mobile.

DirecyPay used to be the single option as a payment gateway for Indian retailers. Shopify recently added PayU as additional payment gateway and now things are easier.

Like:

  • Easiest and fastest
  • Mobile Commerce
  • Awesome Support (Phone/Email/Forum)
  • Hosted Platform (No need for IT team/person and hosting)
  • Suitable for even one-man Business
  • Apps marketplace has more services than any other platform
  • Beautiful themes and designs

Dislike:

Transaction Cost (Not applicable if you’ve upgraded plan)

Links:

Shopify

DirecPay

Shopify Indian stores

2) Mangento + CCAvenue/DirecPay/PayU (The Popular)

magento

Most of the Indian stores are using Magento. Magento is powerful, open source and free for community edition. It’s feature packed and integrates with lots of services to offer a good merchant experience.

It has some modules which support Indian Payment gateways.

Like:

  • Self-hosted (Offers more control and no recurring charges for software)
  • Feature packed platform
  • Multiple Payment Gateway support
  • Integration with many services

Dislike:

  • Self-hosted software (Requires IT team/person and hosting)
  • Support (Community edition only has forum support)
  • UI is not good as other platforms
  • Complicated coding (requires Magento specialized developer to add something or functionality)

Links:

Magento

Indian Payment gateway Modules

3) Zepo with Free Payment Gateway and Bluedart Support (The Convenient)

Zepo

I’ve been watching Zepo from its start and now it’s evolved into something really admiring. The guys @Zepo are keep adding new features and making it really easy to dive into Indian Ecommerce sector.

Like:

  • Free Payment Gateway
  • Excellent support
  • Bluedart Support for Shipping
  • Works with all payment gateways
  • affordable pricing (Costs just as much as your regular hosting)

Dislike:

  • Still need some work with design

Links: Zepo

Shipping and FullFillment

I feel sad here. If you’ve ever used UPS, FedEx or Amazon, you’ll have the same feeling. As much as I know, no platform seamlessly integrates with any shipping or fulfillment services in India.

Services like Flipkart etc let you check your order status but you’ve to open the carrier website for shipment tracking and you can offer the same service.

You can think about offering COD (Cash on Delivery) and fixed or free shipping to make this easy.

Other Platforms

These are some other platform worth mentioning. I don’t have any personal experience with them but they are generating good amount of buzz.

Already got a shop? Read about the success factors for E-Commerce Business and Get more sales quickly.

5 Key success factors for E-Commerce Business

Ask yourself! Why do you buy a product from a particular website? What are the factors which motivate you to choose that site and not others?

That answer is what you’re looking for your own e-store success. They are the key factors which will help your e-store to stands higher in crowd and sell more.

1. Branding

Do you have a ‘thing’ for brands? Do you like Prada or Gucci? Do you like Starbucks?

A brand is a belief and the most powerful thing. The reason why you decide to pay higher price without any problem.

So think, how do you brand your business? What are the current methods for brand building? Are they really helpful? Are they costing much? Can you measure the ROI (return-on-investment)? Is it scalable process?

If you’re answers have more ‘No’ than ‘yes’, then it’s time to tune your Brand-Building method.

Now, How can you build a strong brand if you’re totally new?

These are the effective ways to build a stronger brand using Internet for a new business.

  1. Unique Design:  Good enough to hold them! If you’re able to amaze them, you can sell even more. Get a Logo and designed website. It doesn’t cost you much if you use service like Elance.
  2. Utilize Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn presence are very helpful here. They got some very innovative products (Twitter Promoted, Facebook Ads etc) to promote a brand. Spend some time to discover the ‘best practices’.
  3. Run multiple Display Advertising Campaigns: Let them remember your name and what you do.
  4. Participate in conversation and Q&A sites and answer every questions about your brand 
  5. Showcase your Testimonials, Reviews and feedback across the site and networks

2. USP

USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition.  How do you differentiate your business from others? What are the product differentiators?

A buyer usually spends a good time on research. He searches for

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Deals
  • Reviews etc

So How do you differentiate your products? Is it price, quality, customer support, any guaranty (Money Back, warranty etc.) or payment flexibilities?

When you find your USPs, showcase them everywhere. It’ll help buyers to make decisions.

For example, I’m willing to pay higher price for fast shipping. It’s strange but justifies my impatient behavior.

3. Store Experience

A good store experience is a must have for Ecommerce success. If your cart or design sucks, nothing is going to help to convert better.

Make your store as much as user-friendly you can. Get a good design, speed-up the store (1 second delay in site speed may decrease conversion rate by 7%), smooth the Cart and get higher conversion rate. A good Ecommerce platform or software is a necessity.

Offer number of features but don’t confuse them with lot of options. Simplicity is also necessary.

4. Customer Retention

A business is never going to be a success without the army of Loyal Customers. Customer retention is helpful to get more sales and to build your brand. A loyal customer not only buys from you but he also spreads the good words in his network.

Also you’ve to apply less effort to sell something to existing customers again. They’ve already used the product and they won’t be affected by FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubts).

Simple advice, always be connected with your existing customers. Let them feel special.

Ask for regular advice (design or feature) using newsletters, blogs or surveys. Thus they’ll be connected and feel like a part of the business and not only a proposition/asset.

5. Multi-Channel Marketing

There are opportunities lying everywhere in Internet. Some businesses are making millions from Facebook. Some businesses are killing their competition with Search Engine Marketing.

The mantra is to spread your reach everywhere. It’s not that hard with Internet.

Let me ask you something. How do you promote your business? What are the current quality traffic sources? If you can only list 2 or 3 traffic sources, be ready for sudden loss. :)Multi-Channel

If you’re totally depended on search engines, a negative change in ranking algorithm can affect your whole business. If you rely on Ads for traffic, their policy change can bring you to a danger situation.

An ideal marketing strategy should focus on no. of marketing channels. You can use Email Marketing, SEM, Affiliate Marketing, Referral Marketing, Social Media and offline campaigns to diversify your reach.Distributed Traffic Channel

Thus you’re not dependent on a single source and they’ll also bring you regular amount of buyers. All it needs good and specified targeting and regular data-driven optimization.

Now, it’s time for your participation. What are the success factors behind your business? How to do you sell more? Please share!

Do you need some help for your store? Contact me and let’s work together.