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Why Outsourcing Payroll Makes Sense For Small Businesses

Payroll is one of the key operations that any business has to manage, regardless of its size and scale. Most small companies do it in-house as they think that outsourcing is for enterprise-level organizations. They often end up relying on manual bookkeeping or DIY apps for the job, which can get complicated as the team grows in size. However, collaborating with a service provider can be the smartest approach that can streamline HR operations for smaller organizations while serving value for money. If you are still contemplating the move, let us explain why it makes sense.

Allows in-house resources to focus on business

Even if you run a small company with a limited workforce, payroll can be a headache for your managers. It involves multiple aspects, from handling deposits and checks to looking after withholdings and keeping track of the changing tax requirements. Combined with the complex calculations, they can make the entire process complicated and time-consuming for the managers. By handing the process over to an expert, your team will have more time and less stress, so they will be able to focus on core business functions.

Improves compliance and reporting

Compliance is often a challenge when it comes to payroll management. Even small businesses have to struggle a lot while keeping pace with wage and hour laws, filing deadlines, tax regulations, state-specific legislation and frequent changes. Also, there are heavy-duty reports to prepare for a clear picture of current operations and future projections. Outsourcing payroll administration is a good idea as these experts cover you on both these fronts. They do everything on time and without errors, which means that there wouldn’t be compliance issues.

Offers access to innovation

Sticking to outdated legacy payroll systems will eventually make your small business fall behind. With outsourcing, you get access to the latest technology without having to spend anything. It helps as your employees expect an innovative approach to the payroll, such as direct deposits and easily accessible pay records.

Moreover, switching to technology can speed up and align the payroll operations as your company grows in size and gets more people on board. Partnering with a payroll service makes your business future-ready as they often have the best technologies in place, which offer the benefits that you may just be looking for.

Curbs risk for your business

Payroll goes much beyond signing checks at the end of the month, and there is a scope for errors and risks you may not expect. If you fail to adhere to the tax rules and government norms, fines and penalties may pile up fast. Similarly, not operating payroll on time and correctly can cause dissatisfaction among employees and ruin the reputation of the employer.

Leaving payroll to specialists is a good idea as they will curb these risks and keep your company safe.

Letting your in-house team handle payroll may sound tempting if you are a small business owner looking to curb expenses. However, outsourcing a specialized service is a wise decision as it saves you a lot in the long run and offers the benefit of scalability. No matter how quickly your business grows, the provider will be able to handle your needs with the right technology and expertise.

Digital Branding

The Strong Benefits of Green Branding

On the surface, green branding seems simple enough. It’s about readjusting company initiatives to honor environmentally conscious practices.

According to Investopedia, green branding is about going beyond traditional marketing and promotions to establish “environmental core values” for the benefit of all. In other words, it’s not only marketing or smoke and mirrors — it’s about changing the way a company operates and aligning its core mission and principles with green operations.

As a whole, the practice will benefit the business, consumers and the world. Complex and far-reaching implications can have a lasting impact on the environment, and green branding is a way to fight back against many of those changes. Crucially, consumers tend to have a much more positive outlook on businesses that are in tune with the environment and ecosystem.

The Strong Benefits of Green Branding

The Many Benefits of Going Green

The benefits of an eco-friendly operation are vast:

  • Operational cost savings
  • New product opportunities
  • Enhanced legal and regulatory compliance
  • Premium prices and customers willing to pay for them
  • Local community support and reputation 
  • More supplier and partner options
  • A robust competitive advantage
  • Improved employee morale
  • Green marketing and eco-friendly status symbols

It’s also worth noting that sustainable business practices have a lot in common with going green and eco-friendly initiatives, particularly concerning a  massive reduction in waste and its handling. Environmental practices in the workplace help create a more sustainable business or operation by boosting efficiency and output, reducing waste and optimizing resources, especially finite ones.

Examples of Eco-Friendly Practices

The meaning of green branding is simple enough, but implementing it is much more challenging and involved. The good news is that consumers migrate toward more sustainable, ethical products, so the interest is already there. Nielsen projects that the sales of sustainable products will reach $142 to $150 billion by 2021.

Making changes in your operations and initiatives requires a conscious shift to improve your business’ environmental impact. Green branding is about the communication or sharing of those initiatives through conventional marketing channels. Of course, before that can happen, operational adjustments must take place.

Some eco-friendly practices include:

  • A reduction in resource usage or swapping to more eco-friendly materials
  • More efficient energy usage using something like smart lighting or energy-efficient bulbs
  • The introduction of renewable energy systems like solar or wind
  • Start a recycling initiative to properly dispose of waste
  • Practice water conservation through efficient faucets or smart dispensaries
  • Sourcing components, gear and items from more sustainable suppliers
  • Reducing pollution by upgrading, replacing or retiring old equipment

These are just a few examples of strategies and practices. Your business operations may be different, and that’s OK. Building eco-friendly products is also about the equipment, processes and people doing the work behind the scenes not merely the items themselves.

How to Make Your Business More Environmentally Friendly

Green branding is about the communication and adoption of more sustainable practices. So, if you’re talking about green branding examples, you might see things like sustainably sourced packaging, locally sourced ingredients or eco-friendly corporate goals — like promising to replace conventional power consumption with a given amount of renewable energy by a specific date.

1. Start Small

Every business has a budget, so overhauling every aspect of your operation is out of the question. That’s why it’s best to start small, choosing practices you can change for a minimal cost.

For example, swapping paper products and packages to a recyclable source is an excellent start. Since packaging is responsible for over 80 million tons of waste, such a small change can have a significant impact.

2. Center Your Campaigns

For every marketing campaign or promotion, there tends to be a central theme, which serves as the foundation for everything else that follows. Instead of building marketing campaigns around a topic or message, focus on sustainability and green practices. What are you doing internally to improve the environmental impact? How can that translate to marketing and promotions? Would you like to show off new packaging? Have you thought about creating a commercial that explores your new eco-friendly plant or office?

NewTechWood, for instance, has developed a partnership with other brands that focuses on green initiatives. Part of their strategy is announcing and discussing their new direction, while sharing ways everyone can participate.

3. Always Be Transparent

Consumers want to understand what they’re buying or supporting, which means sharing your sources and how you’re using your supplies. Besides, your audience will want to know what you’re doing internally to sustain the environment. Are you using renewable energy? Are you recycling waste or dealing with it more intelligently and efficiently? Have you upgraded the lighting in your local office to use less energy?

One of the best ways to share this information is through a public-facing feed, whether in blogs, videos or social media.

It goes both ways, too. If you’ve done something wrong, be sure to share it and discuss what you will be doing to remedy the situation. How will you be changing practices in the future?

4. Go Digital

There’s no reason for a paper trail to be hard-copy these days. If you’re worried about protecting data and documents, create backups and use proper security and authentication protocols. Eliminating paper waste is an excellent way to improve sustainability and impact on the environment.

You might also encourage your customers to come on board, which could mean developing or establishing a customer-facing digital platform for your business.

5. Use the Cloud

Data centers are expensive and energy-intensive, especially when they empower internal infrastructure and systems. Offset your resource usage and costs by adopting cloud technologies or working with a cloud provider. The decentralized system handles all the processing and power, and your business would have access to a client-side system.

Cloud providers also simplify technology solutions’ maintenance and security. The provider handles and deals with those elements, allowing you to focus on your mission-critical business practices.

6. Revisit Brand Elements

Rebranding a business also deals with the evolution or upgrade for forward-facing elements, like logos, mission statements, taglines and much more. As you successfully roll out green initiatives, it might make sense to revisit some brand elements customers see.

For instance, if your logo features an outdated item or idea that doesn’t align with your new environmental commitment, it might be time to change.

7. Get Everyone on Board

It’s just as essential to ensure everyone behind the scenes knows what’s happening, too, including company employees, partners and suppliers. Spread the word on internal blogs, during company announcements or events or by getting your teams involved.

Going Green in 2020: No Longer a Choice

If you haven’t implemented green initiatives, you’re behind the times. Your competition has probably already made many of these strides. It’s not only consumers who demand more ethical and sustainable practices in today’s landscape, but also employees, partners and everyone in between.

Eco-friendly practices and green branding are two strategies that could deliver the precise boost in standing and character your business needs. Even beyond that, it can help lower operating costs, improve productivity and output, boost employee satisfaction and significantly enhance product quality and premiums.

If you’re having trouble navigating the world of green technologies and practices, start small. Choose a single operation or element of your services you can improve, then grow from there. Adopt sustainable and eco-friendly packaging. Install some smart lighting solutions or efficient light bulbs in the office. Find ways to reduce the total waste your operation produces. Establish a recycling initiative to properly dispose of or reuse viable supplies.

Going green — including green branding — is something we should all focus on, if only to improve our shared environment and ecosystem.

Authors Bio:

Lexie is a branding enthusiast and web designer. She loves checking out local flea markets and taking her Goldendoodle on hikes. Follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner and check out her design blog, Design Roast.

Digital Branding

6 Robust Marketing Trends That can Help the Life Sciences Industry

In less than two months, we will be welcoming the year 2021. Thus, it only makes sense that companies are ramping up their marketing efforts.

This includes identifying marketing trends that you can apply for the next year and beyond.

Whether you run a pharmacy, own a pharmaceutical company, or create biomedical devices, here are six robust marketing trends you need to know:

Content Marketing

Content marketing may not be a new thing, but it is a timeless marketing tactic.

For one, it allows Life Sciences companies to provide relevant and compelling information. In return, the readers pay attention to their content and trust their expertise.

Moreover, content marketing is a great way to get past the hurdles of “interruptive marketing.” That’s because it is the audiences who are looking for your content instead of shoving it to their face.

It is just a matter of identifying the right target keywords and incorporating them into your content.

Interactive Content

In relation to content marketing, another trend that Life Sciences companies should consider is interactive content.

Interactive content is any content that encourages human interaction. Some examples are quizzes, surveys and polls, and webinars.

Why should you implement interactive content? Doing so allows you to reap the following benefits:● High engagement rate● Capturing qualified data● Increased brand loyalty

Luckily, there are various ways you can leverage interactive content.

If you provide medication and treatment for people with diabetes, consider publishing an interactive quiz. The quiz will determine the kind of treatment that can suit their needs and lifestyle.

From there, you can collect their contact details. Use this to provide tips and product recommendations based on their quiz results.

Keyword Research

No digital marketing campaign is successful with the help of keyword research.

Proper keyword research allows you to create content that is relevant to your target audience. As a result, you get to improve your Life Sciences company’s online visibility.

That said, it is imperative to identify what search queries your target users often use. You should also keep user intent in mind.

For example, you manufacture glucose meters. A consumer is likely to use “glucose meter test strips” because he intends it for personal use.

On the other hand, a seller might use a “glucose meter accuracy comparison.” That’s because he may be looking for the best products that he can sell.

Once you can identify what keywords to target, the next step is to incorporate them into your content and other marketing collateral.

Voice Search Optimization

Do you know where else you can use keyword research? Voice search optimization.

Digital marketing experts are prominent in ensuring that your online assets are mobile responsive during the past decade. These days, it is imperative that you optimize your content for voice search as well.

This is due to the popularity of voice assistants like Siri and OK Google.

The key here is to focus on conversational search queries. These are full-sentence queries like, “Where can I buy a glucose meter device near me?”

And just like with keyword research, it is a matter of incorporating conversational keywords in your content.

Personalization

If you are using a primarily business-to-client model, personalization could come in handy. After all, consumers prefer a more personalized marketing approach.

But according to Life Sciences expert, Michelle Dipp, you can also apply personalization in prescriptions and treatments.

Take Type 2 diabetes treatment, for instance. Nowadays, there are various pharmacological therapies available to manage blood glucose. This is in hopes of improving medical outcomes.

The beauty of personalization is that it relaxes therapeutic constraints. It also allows healthcare professionals to provide adequate care.

However, it causes the burden of detecting treatment nuances.

Shoppable Posts

If you think that social media marketing is not for Life Sciences companies, think again. However, we cannot deny that this can be a new space.

Nonetheless, there are effective ways to use social media. One of them is shoppable posts.

This is a Facebook and Instagram feature that allows you to sell products straight to your audience feed. You have to be wary about the platform’s regulations on promoting products and services related to Life Sciences.

Moreover, you need to have an approved Instagram business account if you want to take advantage of the shoppable post.

Nonetheless, social media is generally designed for storytelling. This means that you still need to be creative with your content, although you are using shoppable posts.

The Best Time to Shift is Now

Life Sciences companies can be notoriously cautious when it comes to digital marketing trends. However, these trends are proof that change is inevitable.

Whether you jump on the bandwagon immediately or after a year, a marketing trend will only work if you know how to leverage it.

If you are looking for ways to build awareness around your Life Sciences company, there is no better time to implement digital marketing but now.

How to Build a Company Culture to Match Your Brand
Local Branding

How to Build a Company Culture to Match Your Brand

The term “company culture” might sound like some HR buzzword, but it’s actually a very important concept for a successful business. Corporate culture represents engagements within the company, which are reinforced by statements that describe it in communications. It is defined by the beliefs and values that guide a company and characterises how it operates.

Company culture is an inherent component of every brand which can have a significant impact on your team’s productivity which influences your overall long-term success. And while company culture isn’t the only part of your brand, it is easily one of the main reasons why staff decide to work for and ultimately stay with a company. So with that in mind, how can you create a company culture that matches your brand?

Define Your Brand

Your brand is a mixture of what you offer consumers and what you stand for in general and it needs to be unique in order for it to be successful. So, the first thing you need to know in order to connect with your audience is to have a solid understanding of who you are as a brand. Mapping out your brand identity will ultimately inform your brand strategy and ensure consistency with your target audience.

Seth Godin, renowned author and speaker has this to say on defining branding early on – “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

Strong branding will lead to an increased sense of pride with your employees, as well as a clearer presence for your existing and prospective customers. Defining your brand and your brand values will eventually become the most valuable assets your company has.

Make Your Mission Clear

Once you’ve defined your brand, you then need to ascertain what the mission of your company is. Your mission should not only align with your brand, but it should also become a clear vision that each employee can believe in. By developing a laser-focused and non-negotiable mission, your company will be more likely to have higher employee retention, as well as increased revenue thanks to more customer satisfaction.

All too often, a company’s mission is ineffective because it is unclear or uncommittable. In fact, little effort is made by many companies beyond ensuring their company mission exists and looks okay on paper. Your company mission tells everyone what you’re about by energising your customer base and motivating your employees, so it’s imperative that your company operates as though your mission actually matters to you.

Create Your Identity

Utilising your company brand and mission, you can now begin to use your company culture to create your brand identity. This is a visual statement for how your company is presented to the public, which includes everything from design ideas, colour schemes, and taglines or slogans, which exemplify your overall philosophy. It’s important to remember that your identity must accurately and clearly portray everything about your brand.

According to Stefan Kaczmarczyk, the sales director of Crystal Bathrooms, when customers are satisfied with a great service, they will remain loyal to a brand creating higher customer retention.

“Happy customers are more likely to spread positive reviews and refer others. This is the best kind of advertising as people tend to have more trust in reviews from the people they know.”

Educate Your Employees

Because your employees will often have a massive impact on your company culture as your brand’s biggest advocates, it’s super important that you create a vibrant culture that allows them to positively personify your brand. You should never simply assume that your employees will always share the same values as you, so it’s up to you to clarify your branding with them in a way that resonates with them.

Your staff need to integrate the core values of your brand into their daily processes in order to support the vision and mission of your brand. Each employee needs to be fully aware of the company branding beyond knowing it exists. To create the best possible company culture, your team must understand not only why your branding exists, but also what it means to other employees, the public, and the company as a whole.

Hire The Right People

Beyond educating your current employees, hiring new team members who share your company values and fit into your company’s culture is vital when building your brand. That’s because strong company culture is directly affected by employee turnover rate. It’s extremely difficult to build your brand if you are constantly hiring and firing employees, not to mention an expensive waste of time.

Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric has this to say on hiring the right team – “If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it, you almost don’t have to manage them.”

While the relationship between employee and employer was once a strictly transactional one, years of social and economic changes have ultimately shifted expectations for many people on both sides. Staff generally want their work to have meaning, whereas companies want people on their team who share their vision, and company culture plays a massive part in these decisions. So the stronger your company culture, the easier it will become to attract the right people initially, who will be more likely to stay with you for the long run.

Final Thoughts

Creating a company culture that matches your brand is never easy. It takes immense amounts of hard work, patience, and commitment to create a company identity that will last the test of time, especially within the ever-changing corporate marketplace of today. So, if you aren’t already aligning your company culture with your branding, the time is now for you to get started.

Uncategorized

How To Choose Bathroom Partitions

Choosing the right bathroom partitions can be a little tricky. It’s tricky because these partitions come in different materials, including; solid plastic, phenolic core, plastic laminate, stainless steel and powder coated steel. Each material comes with its own pros and drawbacks so studying it all in detail is important if you want to make an informed decision.

If you are here trying to learn how to choose the best partitions for a restroom then this is the right place to stick with. For starters, you need to understand that there’s no “best material” for partitions. It all just depends on the style, design and feel that you are looking for.

1- Powder coated toilet partitions

One of the most regularly used partitions are the powder coated partitions. They are quite popular because firstly, they are light in weight and secondly, they are solid. The material is solid because it’s made with great care. It’s a combination of honeycomb cardboard that’s covered with metal sheets. The cost of this material is reasonable and it lies somewhere between $200-$300. The only issue is that this material comes in a limited number of colors so you won’t have much choice in that regard.

2- Plastic laminate partitions

If you are looking for something that’s widely available and comes in different colors then the plastic laminate partitions will work just fine for you. These bathroom partitions are cheap so it’s a great option for those who are on a tight budget. It’s just that you shouldn’t opt for this material if there’s a lot of exposure to water. If it’s a shower cabin or a restroom near a pool, you should opt for solid plastic instead of plastic laminate.

3- Phenolic partitions

Here layers of paper are squeezed together and then they are covered with phenolic tar. This type of partition is best if you want the walls to hold tight and hold up well even during intense conditions. Why most people opt for this material is because it’s sturdy and has a long life expectancy. These partitions are extremely resistant to vandalism. Moreover, the phenolic partitions are easier to maintain and they are resistant to rust and bacteria. In a nutshell, if you are looking for something highly resistant to unfavorable conditions and something that’s sturdy and lasts for a long time then this is the right partition to opt for.

4- Stainless steel partitions

These partitions are the highest point of line. These partitions will give you a modern, sleek and sophisticated look. If you are looking for something for your office restroom then we’d highly recommend you to try stainless steel. These partitions are extremely appealing aesthetic wise. The only issue is that they will cost you a little more than the other materials but it’s totally worth it.

Conclusion

These are some of the main material types used for bathroom partitions. Now that you know where you should use each material, it will be easier for you to make a decision. Other than all of this, you also should ensure that you are getting the best quality partitions. Just opt for a reputable brand that takes quality seriously and does deliver you your desired product. Even though partitions for bathrooms don’t cost a lot, you still should look for a durable one because this isn’t the kind of investment you can make every single month.

Now without waiting any further, pick any one material out of the ones mentioned above and start looking for a design that suits your restroom area in the best possible way.

Uncategorized

10 Best Things to Expect During the Holiday Shopping Season in 2020

The shopping holidays season is around the corner, or is it? Every year, shoppers from across the globe wait for the holiday season to get the best deals on their favorite products.

But this year, it’s different. As COVID-19 has changed the way we shop, this holiday season is set to bring some changes in shopping. But no matter the changes, there’s a lot to take away for both shoppers and retailers.

From increased discounts to the closedown of offline stores, here are the ten best things to expect during the holiday shopping season in 2020.

1. Extended Holiday Season

In general, the holiday shopping season commences after Halloween. But several retailers began offering holiday season-like incentives from October. Many retailers are following this trend to provide customers with more time to do their holiday online shopping safely.

In fact, a lot of retailers have started offering Black Friday-like benefits from October-November. Therefore, you don’t really need to wait for Christmas or Thanksgiving to get the best deals.

2. Offline Stores to Close Their Doors

For years, Thanksgiving has been one of the biggest shopping festivals in the US and across the globe. But this year – due to the COVID-19 pandemic – many offline retailers like Walmart and Kohl’s have decided to stay closed on shopping holidays to reduce massive crowd gathering.

This gives an opportunity for online retailers to make the most out of the Thanksgiving sale.  Since offline stores will remain closed, consumers will seek holiday online shopping to fulfill their shopping needs.

3. Reduced Consumer Spending

This pandemic has been difficult for everyone, not only healthwise but also moneywise. Many consumers have lost their jobs, and those who haven’t, are working on salary deductions. In all, the spending power of the customers has reduced.

This means there will be a decrease in customer spending during this holiday season. Holiday season shopping statistics suggested that the average holiday spending per person could decrease from $627 in 2019 to $515 in 2020. Several other studies have also suggested that overall spending this year could surge by up to 50%.

But what this also means is that vendors will offer massive discounts to encourage customers to make a purchase. Therefore, customers can expect to get some exciting online shopping deals during this holiday shopping season.

4. Online Shopping Will Overtake Offline Shopping

Even after a significant surge in online shopping, offline shopping remained to be the go-to mode for customers during the festive season. This year, this trend is going to change. As discussed, people are shifting to online shopping due to COVID-19 pandemic. Also, many offline retailers have announced that they’ll remain closed.

This offers a massive opportunity for online vendors. Ecommerce stores can create robust marketing strategies and customer acquisition plans to give them a head start before the actual holiday shopping season starts.

5. Reduced Relevance of Black Friday

If you’re a Black Friday shopper, there’s some news. Since many retailers are already offering Black Friday-like discounts, you don’t need to wait till Black Friday. In fact, 41% of consumers aren’t planning to shop on this Black Friday, stated the report by KPMG.

You, as a customer, can consider this as both negative as well as positive. On the downside, you won’t be able to get the same Black Friday shopping experience as before. But on the upside, you don’t need to wait for the Black Friday sale as many retailers are already offering similar advantages.

6. Shopping By Appointment

If you’re a brick and mortar store, you can capitalize upon the new “shopping by appointment trend. If you have a social media page or website, you can ask your customers to take appointments and assign them specific time slots to shop. This way, you will provide your customers with an in-store shopping experience along with alleviating the risk of the spread.

Stores that don’t have a digital presence in the form of a social media page or website can make appointments via phone. Just hang a banner at your storefront with the phone number and the necessary instructions.

7. Shipping Delays

Several studies have suggested that fast delivery is one of the key factors that impact customers’ buying decisions. But in this festive season, you might experience some shipping delays. These are hard times for eCommerce vendors as well. And though they’re trying to offer the best service, the current circumstances are restricting. Hence, it may take more than usual time for your orders to be fulfilled and delivered. Moreover, some retailers may also charge an extra delivery fee, given the current circumstances.

8. Online Shopping Rewards

Online shopping stores will be providing exciting rewards for shopping to attract more customers. These rewards could be in the form of cashback, gift cards, or upfront discounts. Many retailers would be willing to waiver delivery charges if your cart amount reaches a certain threshold.

9. Credit Card and Wallet Rewards

At the same time, customers should keep an eye on their credit card companies and mobile wallets. Since digital payments are on the rise, more people will shop from credit cards and wallets.

This gives an opportunity to wallets and credit card companies. Many of these providers will offer cashback and discounts on shopping from their cards and platforms. Customers should watch out for the offers to get the most benefits.

10. Social Media Shopping

Social media isn’t the place that it used to be. Now, it has become a platform for brands and customers. Retailers are readily utilizing social media to get in touch with their customers and promoting their products. Customers are also engaging with brands on social media. This festive season, many retailers will use social media as their primary channel to sell their products.

Conclusion

In all, there won’t be a holiday season like it used to be before. Though the times could be a bit difficult for retailers, the opportunities and benefits of shoppers are endless. As a customer, you can expect exciting deals and massive discounts during this season. And customers like to shop online for fashion items during this season.

Digital Branding

5 eCommerce Marketing Mistakes to Be Aware of in 2020-2021

With all the marketing efforts and spent resources on getting an eCommerce store to sell more, you surely wouldn’t want to repeat the calamitous errors of others. In this post, we’ll introduce you to the 5 things to be on the lookout for, bring up which mistakes not to repeat, give tips, and mention what you should get your hands on for your own online store if you haven’t up to this point.

1. Optimize your product images

If you know at least something about search engine optimization, you’ve most likely heard that page load times matter. A lot.

Not only is a slowly loading page terrible in terms of SEO (hint: Google won’t rank well a backpedaling page that takes forever to open), but it also causes terrible bounce rates. Users hate wasting their time waiting for the page to load. They get angry when this happens and leave the site.

Why am I bringing this up? Images are responsible for slowing down a page in way too many cases. Thus, being a marketing specialist, do what you can to optimize your eCommerce site’s speed. Consider implementing caching tools, perhaps, turn to your developers for this one as the best-fit tools to use will differ from one eCommerce platform to another.

If you fall short of techy background, try starting with manual image compression and opting for progressive image formats (these are, for instance, WebP or JPG). 

Below is a screenshot from a product page on the official Philipp Plein eCommerce store. As you can see, the site uses pictures of “weight-friendly” JPG format in the gallery. Plus, I ran a page speed test with a free tool just for fun, and this product page (although it has 5 high-resolution images in the gallery) loads in as little as 5.2 seconds which isn’t that bad.

Product gallery image type on the Philipp Plein website  Screenshot taken on the official Philipp Plein website

2. Add user-generated content widgets from socials

Using cross-posting as leverage is a wide-used marketing strategy. So why not solve several problems with one action?

How? By hooking up user-generated posts to your eCommerce website. You’ll enhance your social presence, grow your audience, enrich social media content, make existing clients who make the posts happier, and give other shoppers some inspiration to get your products.

A great example of such a UGC widget is the “Share How You Wear It” section available on the product pages on the official Reebok website. Clients are allured to make posts on personal social media pages, posts should feature the product that they’ve bought and tag the official @reebok account. If these simple terms are met, the person gets a chance to make it to the gallery.

User-generated content widget with client social media posts on the Reebok website  Screenshot taken on the official Reebok website

3. Get the most of your customer reviews

No matter how hard you try to persuade your potential customers to buy something, the words of those who have already purchased the product are still going to be more convincing. This is why it’s vital to not overlook the reviews that your customers give. Even more so, being a marketer, you should put in some effort to encourage people to leave reviews and to react to them too.

A hint here is to enhance your order delivery confirmation emails or communication. Add a short link to the feedback form on your website’s product page and offer several percent off for the future purchase or some other sort of perk to reward the person if they take the time to write a comment on the product they’ve bought.

From a technical perspective, the feedback section itself can be as fancy as you want. A good idea is to place a review summary prior to the specific client comments, this can assist users who are browsing the item in making quicker conclusions.

To provide you with an example of proper implementation and use of client feedback, here’s how customer reviews look like on the official Maybelline New York website. We see a star rating at the top of the page, the number of reviews (43) takes the user straight to the reviews if clicked. The section has a neat summary, every reviewer’s short personal data, and comments are seen.

Product reviews as seen on the Maybelline New York website  Screenshot taken on the official Maybelline New York website

4. Start using personal product picks

General “recommended products” sections are a deal of the past. Pitching items that the person may actually like and making such product choices based on the user’s earlier shopping carts, bought, and browsed items is a whole new thing. It’s a personal approach that everyone should strive for when communicating with clients, even if it’s done via a page on the web (marketers should be aware of that). And this can substantially grow your average check sizes.

This can be reached by getting a hold of modern personal product page functionality. It’s usually artificial intelligence-based, capable of tracking user behavior, and makes bulls-eye item choices that are displayed to the user.

To show you a neat use of this feature below is the “You may also like” product pick example on the official Fendi website.

“You may also like” personalization block on the Fendi website  Screenshot taken on the official Fendi website

5. Create gift finder sections, seriously

As marketers, you must understand the importance of making it easy to sell things. Putting together various guides, collections, and finders that’ll help users make up their minds as they’re in search of what to present as a gift to someone is a fabulous move. You assist your buyers and sell more.

It is considered good practice to place such “Gift Ideas” in the top menu of the online store. Secondly, it makes sense to break down the suitable items by recipient, occasion, or budget. Thirdly, if gift ideas are gathered as category pages, having on-page filters to simplify the search is nice too.

For some inspiration of what this can be like if handled properly, take a look at how the “Gift Guide for Men” is presented on the official Adidas website. As you can see, the guide is assembled as a separate page, furthermore, users can filter the gifts by size, category, product type, color, etc.

Gift ideas section for men on the official Adidas website  Screenshot taken on the official Adidas website

Final Thoughts

To conclude the above, marketers should be on the lookout for the following five mistakes:

  1. Unoptimized images or other factors that negatively influence page load times.
  2. Missing out on user-generated content via social media.
  3. Not using customer feedback properly (which is a mighty and persuasive tool).
  4. Not having your product picks personalized (and people like individualized shopping experiences).
  5. Not having gift ideas or gift-hunting guides up on the store.

We hope that you’ve found this piece handy! If you have any more often-occurring marketing mistakes in eCommerce in mind, feel free to share them in the comments below.

 

About the Author

Alex Husar

Alex Husar, CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento migration and Salesforce development services. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.

 

Social media:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-husar
https://twitter.com/AlexHusar1

 

 

Local Branding

How To Leverage Your Shipping Strategy To Enhance Your Brand

Branding in the current landscape goes beyond product differentiation and marketing. It is more about customer experience because it goes a long way in making your brand stand apart. People who get the best experiences are bound to be loyal to your business. They tend to stay and also bring others through word-of-mouth recommendations. So you must go the extra mile to enhance their shopping experiences.
While your products, services, and interactions go a long way, your shipping strategy can also make a difference in your brand’s loyalty. Buyers expect brands to excel in terms of shipping options and fulfillment services, so you must make conscious efforts to deliver on these fronts. Here are some ways to leverage your shipping strategy for enhancing your brand.

Be transparent

E-commerce branding is all about building trust and transparency because customers do not transact with brands physically. You need to extend transparency in shipping services along with everything else. Providing clear estimates about delivery dates and sharing the tracking information with customers makes the entire process more transparent and trustworthy. It is equally important to be available if customers have any queries and concerns about their orders. Maintaining transparency around your returns policy also matters because most online buyers would review it before buying. There shouldn’t be any hidden costs for product returns, while you must also clarify whether the customers will need to bear return shipping costs.

Match expectations around speed and cost

E-commerce customers expect fast and cost-effective delivery of products at the click of a button. Your business may have the best products and pricing, but shipping speed and costs can make all the difference to the buying decision. It is vital to ensure that the shipping options you offer match the expectations of buyers on these fronts.

According to experts at Shipping Vegas, collaborating with a reliable fulfillment provider is the key because it determines the speed and cost of delivery. It becomes all the more important for international businesses because sending across products with speed, efficiency, and affordability is a challenge.

Showcase your brand

Another measure that you can implement for empowering your brand at the shipping stage is by showcasing it with attractive product packaging. For most customers, receiving a package would be their first in-person experience with your brand, so it should be impressive enough to make your brand memorable.

Including your brand logo, colors, and imagery in the package creates a consistent and cohesive experience for the customers. Custom packaging also creates brand awareness and drives loyalty and retention in the long run. Moreover, it serves as a cost-effective branding initiative as compared to other strategies that often cost a fortune.

When it comes to achieving success in the e-commerce domain, it can be a daunting challenge right now. A business needs to excel with everything, from product quality to pricing and customer servicing and support. Additionally, a strong shipping strategy can keep a brand on top-of-mind for customers in the long run because it serves as the mainstay of the experience you deliver.

Digital BrandingPersonal Branding

What are 3 Instagram tools you need to keep up with trends?

If you use Instagram not just for sharing your images with a close circle of friends, you need more than just the app itself. Having an engaging IG page is a perfect opportunity for a business to attract new audiences and interested clients. Do you know that in 2020 Instagram hashtags work similarly to SEO keywords that help get your content exposed to more people? It takes some time to research these words, but if you know what Instagram hashtag generator to use, you can easily find the best hashtags that work for promotion. 

The point is that discovering new Instagram tools will help you better your content strategy and make the most of your online business. In this article, you will find out more about tested Hashtag finder, Instagram font generator, and Profile analyzer – keep on reading to learn why these tools are useful. 

3 tried and tested Instagram tools you need in 2020

#1 Toolzu Hashtag generator

If you try google hashtag tools, you’re gonna see many options on the web. But when you start using them, you realize that most of the tools are not convenient. 

Toolzu is a handy tool that lists over 12 million hashtags, and new ones are added regularly. This tool lets you discover hashtags by keyword or with the help of AI-algorithms. You can simply paste a link to any post or upload a picture. 

In front of a hashtag, you can see how intense the competition will be if you use it (the graph Difficulty). For example, if a hashtag is used in millions of posts, the content is saturated, and your post will be among the recently added for just a couple of minutes. That’s why it’s worth to include in your set medium and more niche-specific hashtags. 

The main upper hand of using a hashtag generator instead of the in-app search is that you can copy them instantly. The app does not allow you to do that to click on a hashtag and view the content. 

What are other benefits:

  • The option of mentioning 5 keywords per search
  • Looking for hashtags in any languages
  • Deep analytics on hashtags including top posts

If you haven’t been using hashtags because you were lazy to discover them via the app, use the effortless yet effective way – the Toolzu hashtag finder. The 7-days trial period is free of charge. 

#2 Fonts generator by Bigbangram

It is getting more and more trendy to use other than IG default fonts. Bloggers who write long captions tend to organize their texts better – with bold headlines, highlighted words. Hence, an IG copy turns into a meaningful article. It’s also helpful to add various fonts into your bio description and IG name. 

If you think that to type in a different font, you need to hack the IG app; you are mistaken. The only thing you need is a proper Instagram fonts tool, and I recommend you to check the one by Bingbangram. 

You need to insert or type any text in the Latin alphabet, and it will be immediately converted into a style you choose. The library lists dozens of fonts in various moods – classical, romantic, minimalist, gothic, etc. 

I like most of all that it is possible to preview how a style will look from a phone screen. There is a simulator, and I advise you to check it if you are looking for a fresh font for your name or bio. 

Try fancy characters for your page – the tool is forever free. 

#3 Profile analyzer by Ingramer

 

Finally, I number 3 on my list is the Analyzer of profiles by Ingramer. This tool will be helpful for those who are growing and looking for some ideas on the accounts of their competitors. Sometimes, spying on strategies of successful accounts helps to get insights. 

What info will you get:

  1. Reals stats, like the engagement rate, to see if the followers are active and the content is interactive
  2. Best-performing content that will help you to get what kind of media your audience consumes better
  3. Top hashtags that you can also try in your captions
  4. Posting schedule that you can consider when deciding what time is better to post to get more interactions

All in all, you need to collect the list of the popular accounts in your niche and paste their names into the Analyzer tool. After, you can use the data to adjust your IG posting and content strategy. 

Conclusion

Having all the mentioned above tools at your fingertips will help you expand the reach of your content, create more eye-grabbing text, and apply some of your competitors’ techniques. Services like Toolzu, Ingramer, Bigbangram are widely-used by influencers, digital marketers, and business people. Do you want to try them too? Hurry up – more people want to see your content. 

Digital Branding

When Should Your Startup Expand Into New Verticals

Growing a startup into a successful and viable long-term business is the goal of every entrepreneur. Expanding your idea from a single concept into an expansive business with multiple different revenue streams and geographic distribution is a fun and exciting challenge. Exploring new verticals is an excellent way to grow and protect your business from market fluctuations and changes; diversification is the key to success.

Finding the right time to move into a new vertical can be challenging, though. Move too soon and you risk overextending yourself, but move too late and you risk your business stalling. In the following article, we’ll provide you with some advice on how to find the best time to move your business in exciting new directions.

Expanding Vertically

Vertical expansion is the process of moving your business into a new field, with the goal of diversifying your operations, risk, and revenue streams. When executed at the right time and into the right areas, vertical expansion can take your business to a whole new level, complementing and synergising with your existing business operations.

Aaron Babb, Director of Aevum Health had this to say on the importance of expanding his business, even when he was in a comfortable situation – “New verticals relating to new markets or revenue streams are an incredibly powerful business growth technique that allows for expansion without significant additional costs. In a small to medium-sized business often your biggest issues are cashflow. Seeking out and finding new verticals allows for additional revenue once set overheads have already been established boosting business cash flow.” 

Test the Market

As most startup entrepreneurs will know, not every idea is a golden one. Some things appear great on paper, a sure-fire path to success, but once they are moved into the marketplace they fall apart. Testing your idea for vertical movement is important to not only evaluate whether it is a viable idea that the market will accept, but also if the timing is right. 

Gary Vaynerchuck, prolific social media magnate and business advisor has this to say on testing the market “If you’re worried you won’t be able to communicate your idea to the existing market, maybe your idea needs some rethinking.” 

A small market test may demonstrate that while the move is something your customers are ready for, your business isn’t in a place to make the move with the attention and focus required.

Get the Timing Right

Timing is everything when it comes to expanding your business into a new vertical. If you make the move too soon into your startups’ lifecycle then you risk derailing your core concept by spreading your resources too thin. If you make the move too late, though, you risk being too heavily integrated into the core business platform. Keep vertical expansion constantly in your plans, regularly assessing when the best time is to move forward without diverting mission-critical resources, but while you are still small and agile enough to move and adapt into a new area.

Identify the Motivators

One of the most important questions to ask yourself when considering moving your business into a new vertical is why you are doing so? Identifying the motivations behind the move will help you to thoroughly assess whether now is the best time to be making a change.

Tim Ferris, author of the 4 hour work week “The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”

If the motivation for exploring new business avenues is the wrong thing, then you risk the idea falling flat. Vertical expansion should be done at a time in the business when you have a solid footing in the core business vertical and have maximised your current potential. If the motivation for expanding into a new vertical is because your competitors are doing so or you are just looking for a new challenge then the timing may not be right.

 

Moving your startup into a new vertical will almost certainly be harder than it was launching the idea initially. When a business is just starting it can afford to be much more dynamic in its movements and decisions. It can also afford to make mistakes and recover from them with relative ease. Once a business has been established, pivoting into a new vertical is much more difficult as you have to carefully balance the existing business operations, staff, and customers while trying to launch something new. The cost of failure is much higher, but the benefits of success are too. Identifying the right time to make the move is critically in boosting the chances for a successful expansion.