How to Encourage Impulse Purchases in Your Store

Before your customers decide to make a purchase, there are several phases they go through. It starts with becoming aware of a need or pain point, how your product satisfies it, and assessing information for making comparisons of value such as price or perks that impact the decision-making process.

Impulse purchases, however, are not so involved. Here you’ll find some tips on how to encourage impulse buying in both online and offline stores.

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Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

#1 – PHYSICAL STORE LAYOUT vs. ECOMMERCE WEBSITE DESIGN

A physical store needs to be visually attractive and the layout well-organized so the customer feels comfortable in spending their time shopping. The traditional brick-and-mortar store should also be sanitary and look completely safe. Debris, dirt, clutter, and tripping or safety hazards, like loose wiring, present an unprofessional and unsafe atmosphere that will discourage relaxed shopping.

In addition to making the surroundings seem visually inviting, you could also make them seem more fresh and pleasant by providing some appealing scents. Fragrance affects us more than we realize, and at an instinctive level so that shoppers will associate your signature fragrance with your brand in an emotionally positive context.

That’s why many retailers utilize scented branding. While candles provide visual appeal and a range of aromas, they should be considered a fire hazard. Even when they aren’t lit they may emit some scent, but keeping candles all over the store isn’t really practical or cost-effective.

With aroma diffusers in your store, however, your customers will associate a smell at your establishment with a pleasing outcome, for instance freshly cut grass with a lawn equipment retailer. These compelling smells will inspire customers to make a purchase without even thinking about it. Human reactions to scent is automatic and highly intuitive.

Just as in a physical store, an ecommerce site needs to be attractively designed and logically ordered. Customers should have no trouble in searching your line of products. That’s where “webmospherics” are concerned. It’s a term that refers to website attributes that impel the customer through the buying experience without too many considerations or distractions. This includes features like one-touch checkout, appealing photos as product links, and search and filter capabilities.

Creating a positive environment on your website is just as important to encourage online shopping as it is in a physical store. Optimizing your site for smartphone shoppers is important to boosting sales, as that is where millions of consumers are doing their shopping. A mobile-responsive website is programmed to adapt to any device that accesses it in order to provide the best shopper experience.

#2 BE STRATEGIC ABOUT CHOOSING IMPULSE PRODUCTS AND THEIR POSITIONING

In either physical or ecommerce stores, product displays and placement should be simple and intuitive. If customers have to stop and think about what they’re looking at, impulse buying is restricted. Impulse items should be small and inexpensive so they don’t represent an imposing financial choice.

Attention-drawing signage is an important element in impulse sales. For instance, one with a smiling toddler near a bottle of baby shampoo attracts more customers. In physical stores, impulse items should be located near checkout.

Colorful displays that are amusing or educational entice the customer to focus on the product as they’re waiting in checkout lines. They can also be placed next to best-sellers as related or cross-merchandising items. Seeming out of place can draw attention to certain items.

In online shopping, product photos or videos can appear on the homepage or landing page, or be used in social media profiles as quick links to your site. Including product suggestions on the checkout page as “buyers also liked” lists will boost impulse purchases of those items. Suggestive captions can also work for cross-selling items, such as “try this hot look” for clothing.

While ecommerce sites can track individual user actions and personalize the shopping experience to optimize sales traditional stores have to rely on observation and experience to find out what works best.

#3 DON’T FORGET ABOUT DIRECT MAIL/E-MAIL MARKETING

Direct mail marketing has always been a successful tactic for brick-and-mortar retailers. Sending out brochures and catalogs creates interest through visual appeal and keeps the seller in the customer’s thoughts. It can also create strong associations through scented paper, card-board pop-ups, or full-page photos.

Ecommerce sites, on the other hand, tend to rely on emails. They can send out notices of special deals, digital coupons, or abandoned shopping cart notices to spur impulse buying. These tactics are intended to catch the customer at their most receptive and stimulate them to take action.

However, the content of the email needs to be carefully crafted. This means personalized messages, catchy subject lines, and friendly, helpful language to improve the chances emails will be opened and not simply deleted.

Overtime, these interactions will help to build brand recognition, trust, and strengthen consumer relationships. Both email and direct mail campaigns help your brand maintain visibility and develop a more engaging customer experience.

FINAL WORDS

There are certain factors that will help you to improve revenue from impulse purchases. This includes providing a pleasant, well-organized environment both on your website and physical store. Good strategies on product placement and promotion draw more customer attention, while direct mail or email campaigns help to stimulate impulse buying and improve customer relationships. Effective management of impulse shopping can make a big contribution to your bottom line.

 

About the Author:

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. She was rummaging through her grandma’s clothes before it was cool and she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, but delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88

8 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Business Website Hosting

When choosing a web hosting provider, you should carefully evaluate your options before making a final decision. This isn’t always easy, as there’s plenty of jargon to deal with, which can make it hard to determine whether you’re actually getting a good deal for the price you’ll be paying.

The good news is that with just a little bit of information, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls when comparing hosting providers. Here are some of the top mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not Paying Attention to Hidden Charges

Sometimes, there will be additional charges associated with a hosting service that aren’t always clear from the start. These can include VAT and setup costs, as well as domain transfer fees charged if you want to transfer your domain away to another registrar.

Bandwidth charges are another common hidden charge. Some hosting providers limit the amount of data your website can transfer in a month and charge you extra for any overage. Bandwidth limitations can be a problem if your website grows in popularity and starts receiving a lot more visitors, as you may end up having to pay a high amount for the transferred data.

Choosing a Hosting Service With a Lengthy Contract

Many web hosting providers give big discounts if you pay for several years of service when you sign up. Some may even require that you pay for at least one year of service in advance. Even though this can save you money over paying for a monthly subscription, it’s not really a good idea.

When you first get started with a hosting company, you don’t know what type of experience you’ll have with them in the future. If ever you’re dissatisfied with the service and want to switch providers, it might be difficult for you to get back any amount you’ve paid in advance.

Not Considering Technical Support

Selecting a hosting company that has top-notch technical support is crucial, especially if this is the first time you’re using a web host and running your own website. No matter how good your hosting company is, there is a high chance that you’ll run into some type of problem at one point and will require their assistance. When you need help, using a hosting company with a support department that is easy to reach and answers your questions quickly will make all the difference.

A hosting service that provides around the clock support by different methods, such as phone, email and live chat may cost a bit more than a similar service with less support. But if you have a question about one of your hosting plan’s features or something isn’t quite working right, you’ll quickly see the value of a hosting service which provides high-quality support to all of its customers.

Relying on Reviews Made by Affiliates

The best way to find out whether a hosting company actually provides good value for the money is to read some hosting reviews. The problem is that not all reviews are neutral and unbiased. If you come across a website that just reviews a few hosts, with all reviews being overly positive and having a link to the purchase page of the web host, it’s certainly a site operated by an affiliate that receives commissions for every new customer they refer to a host.

When reading hosting reviews, it’s a better idea to consult several different websites. This will give you a more unbiased look at various hosting companies, helping you understand what their strong and weak points are.

Choosing a Provider Solely Based on Price

It’s not a good idea to assume that all hosting services are the same and just choose the provider with the least expensive options. Also, the highest priced hosts aren’t necessarily the best either, as some providers sell basic hosting services at highly inflated prices. A better approach to choosing a host is to think about what your needs are and then compare various hosting plans from different providers, as well as read independent reviews to get an idea about the quality of each company.

Paying Additional Fees For Products and Services You Don’t Really Need

Many hosting companies try to “upsell” during the checkout process. Be careful to review each page before clicking on the “continue” button so that you don’t buy any products or services that you don’t really need.

Many of the products offered during the upsell phase are hyped up by the web host as being worth hundreds of dollars, but are actually of little value. For example, some hosting firms charge inflated costs for website templates or directory submission services that you can easily find for free elsewhere.

Not Thinking about Scalability

One of the troubles of starting a new website is that it’s difficult to know how much your site will grow in the future. While your current hosting package may meet your needs for now, this may not be the case a few months down the road. For this reason, it’s very important to select a hosting provider that offers a variety of services and makes it easy to upgrade if you need to.

Using the Same Company For Web Hosting and Domain Registration

It’s common for domain registrars to also provide hosting services, but their packages are often overpriced and offer only basic hosting features. Many hosting providers also make it a huge selling point to offer a free domain name when you sign up for their service. However, this isn’t a huge benefit, as domain names are quite inexpensive and you can easily buy one independently.

Another point to consider is that having your domain and hosting offered by the same company can make it harder to switch to a different provider in the future if your needs change or you’re not satisfied with the service.

Selecting a hosting provider for your business website is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. To increase the chances of selecting a web host that is right for you and avoiding problems, you should do your research beforehand to avoid making mistakes that could prove costly down the road.

Guest Author, Josh McAllister, is a freelance technology journalist with years of experience in the IT sector. He is passionate about helping small business owners understand how technology can save them time and money. Find him on Twitter @josh8mcallister

Millennial Trends: Create a Workplace That Works for You

When people talk about Millennials, they see them as a generation dependent on cell phones, always on the go and very aware of environmental issues. But realistically, this description is applicable to almost anybody in the modern, civilised world. What distinguishes Millennials from others is the fact that they know how to use the new technologies to their advantage and they use the availability of the vast knowledge online to be informed and involved in important issues.

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Thus the workplace has evolved not only to suit their needs but also to be a better environment and more oriented towards the human factor.

Work and fun go together

It’s not unheard of that you can have fun in the workplace. But usually that means that you do the job you love, and more and more it means that you need some time to relax and reset during work hours. Many companies practice this way of thinking by having recreational areas where workers can play board and video games, read books and other literature in the specially designed nooks and use some of the stress-relief techniques, such as barefoot walking on the grass, gardening or yoga. Some companies even have masseurs on staff and psychologists.

Flexible work schedule

If your company can allocate the time and resources, try implementing flexible working hours. If it’s too much trouble, then try a flexible start of the workday. For example, if you usually work from 9 a.m., then allow for employees to arrive between 9 and 11. Not everyone is a morning person and this flexibility can contribute to a great extent to the productivity of your workers and their satisfaction with their job.

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Listen to their ideas and opinions

As a generation which uses the Internet for research and to be up-to-date with happenings in the world, their ideas might bring new perspectives and approaches. Sometimes they can even suggest strategies which will help you recreate your image and brand, being that they follow the newest trends when it comes to their interests and education. They are the generation that is competitive by trying to be the best in their field of expertise thanks to their diligence and dedication. So their opinions and ideas, no matter how extreme or far-fetched, are usually based on extensive research and observations.

Be transparent

Every employee wants to know what the goals and objectives of their employer are. Also, they would like to know where they stand in that organisation and how their work contributes to the company’s success. But the difference between Millennials and other employees is that they are going to leave if they think that you are doing something behind their back and at their expense. The fact is that you should expect nothing less from the generation growing up in an evolved society which is well aware of all the violations of human rights and is not afraid to voice their disagreement and outrage.

Technology

Millennials are very well educated on what technology you need and how it operates, and they can be a positive example to other employees how to modernise their everyday workload and provide better results. Another aspect of Millennials’ work habits is that they don’t waste time and energy on everyday verbal communication, but preferably stay in touch with all their co-workers and team members via software like Skype, for example. This way the place is not a problem for performing tasks and work-related activities, and therefore the productivity doesn’t suffer.

Office design

Millennials attribute great value to the look of their office space since they are supposed to spend a big portion of their day there. Their ideal office is collaborative with no walls, open and promoting interaction between employees. This doesn’t mean that privacy should be excluded or replaced. Also, Millennials are more prone to bright places, but will always choose windows with direct sunlight protection such as custom made curtains made by Eiffel for example, since they don’t like anything preventing them from doing their jobs to the best of their ability.

In the end

It’s important to recognise everything listed here not as something Millennials need in order to work for you, but what you as an employer must have to achieve maximum productivity for your company. A happy employee is a productive employee, and having Millennials on staff can only motivate others working for you to perform their duties to the best of their ability as well as to exchange knowledge and thus find the best approach to execute an old task in a new, more effective manner.

Decrease Your Bounce Rate, Increase Loyal Customers

A poor bounce rate is a conundrum that a lot of businesses face. They are attracting a good amount of traffic to their website, but they don’t have many conversions to back it up. Of course, traffic means nothing if the people that are visiting your website are not interested in what you have to offer. So, where are you going wrong? Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can decrease your bounce rate in order to increase your loyal consumer base.

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Is your web design confused?

This is one of the main reasons for a high bounce rate. Does your branding reflect your business and the industry you operate in? If your web design is confused, it is going to dilute your brand identity, and it will immediately turn potential customers away. This often occurs when people work with web design and marketing businesses that have no experience in their area. If you run a law firm, for instance, a company like Foster Web Marketing would be ideal, as they cater to the legal sector and have an abundance of experience in this industry. It is so important to find designers that have experience in your niche, and check out their portfolio to see the work they have done so far.

Do you understand what your visitors are looking for?

As mentioned in the introduction, one of the biggest problems business owners face is that they have a tremendous amount of website traffic, but they can’t turn these users into customers. The main reason for this is because not all every user is your ideal consumer.  So, what happens is that someone gets directed to your page, and then they realise that you don’t offer what they are looking for, and then they leave. This is why your bounce rate is high.

To rectify this issue, you need to understand your website visitors. There are a number of ways you can do this, including:

  • Analyse onsite search trends – This is a good way to understand what your customers are expecting from your website. You can see what search terms they use, and whether your website is catering to what they want. If not, you can identify the gaps in your content and make the necessary changes.
  • Discover the highest converting pages on your website at present – You can learn what type of content attracts customers to your business by understanding the highest converting pages. You will probably find that there is a big difference between your highest converting content and your most popular content, and this signals that you need to make a change.
  • Find your most popular content – This leads on from the former point perfectly. You need to find your most popular posts and make sure they are optimised for boosting conversions.

Do you encourage new website users to opt-in to your email list?

If you don’t, now is the time to start. This is important because research indicates that to create a viable sales lead it takes six to eight touches. This is why collecting email addresses is a must. This enables you to keep in contact with your potential customer, ensuring the relationship is kept alive until they convert. Otherwise, how would you be able to encourage the six to eight touches until a sale takes place?

You need to have a careful and considered approach when encouraging people to sign up to your email list. You need to give them an incentive to do so. For example, you could offer valuable digital downloads, such as a whitepaper, cheat sheet, template, or eBook.

Do you re-engage abandoned visitors?

This is the final point to consider when it comes to your bounce rate. A lot of business owners simply give up on the users that have abandoned them after their first visit to their website. This is a big mistake, which can result in many opportunities lost. You shouldn’t give up on these users. Perhaps they simply were not ready to make a purchase from your website or sign up to your email list first time around?

You need to look for the most effective methods of re-engaging with these visitors. One of the ways you can do this is with social media. You can target people that have recently engaged with your website, creating posts that have been perfectly put together to appeal to them. You can also use on-site remarketing to appeal to abandoning visitors through targeted exit-intent popups.

All in all, reducing your bounce rate is of huge importance if you are to have a successful online presence. Use the tips that have been mentioned above to get started.

Optimizing Your Online Presence For Global Expansion

Widening your net to land a much more international audience is a great way to grow your company and get your product, service or even just your brand into entirely new territories. However, it isn’t as simple as many would naively believe, especially when you consider you have to cater for all the nuances that come with an international audience: cultures, laws and online behaviors.

That is why we have come up with a few things you should consider when it comes to launching your global marketing strategy; the reason being these will help you successful cater to the new audiences you hope to reach.

Going Cross-Culture

If you want to be a success across multiple cultures then you need to understand the cultural barriers that you and your business will need to overcome. Of course, a great place to start is having a website that has been translated into multiple languages because this will give you a huge advantage. However, the deeper you are able to delve when it comes to understanding other cultures the more you will able to tweak your strategy to meet the different nuances. As such, we recommend you learn from people in the target audience you are hoping to reach.

Different Laws

Every country – and often every region – has different regulations when it comes to products, marketing, and sales. As such, it is worth making sure you know the local regulations on all three of these fronts before you commit to launching your online campaign. To give you some more context, doing business in Russia will mean different product laws to doing business in America with regards to chemicals used, safety standards, packaging designs, language used and quality assurances. The same goes for advertising laws. While America is very relaxed on competitive messaging, places like Germany and Belgium have much stricter regulations.

Search Engine Needs

Choosing the right search engine, localizing content and understanding how keywords are interpreted; these are areas you need to give careful consideration to. Every region uses different search engines, so you need to know which is used by your target audience in every location you are launching in. Yes, Google has the top spot in English-speaking countries, but local markets tend to be best served by local search engines. Another thing to bear in mind is translations. It isn’t enough to just directly translate your content; you need to localize the messaging and the product to each market you are looking at serving. And let’s not forget the importance of knowing what the native keywords to use are.

Website Design

You may think you have got the perfect website in terms of design and user functionality and, yes, that may well be the case for your American market. But it doesn’t mean it will be for the Russian market. Simple things like the colors you use can have a completely different meaning because they are so deeply ingrained in cultures. White in the western world means marriage and purity, but in the Eastern world and Africa, it symbolizes mourning. That’s just the start as well. You’re social media accounts will need to be setup to adapt to the different languages too, while most of the customer services do’s and don’t will need to be addressed as well. You’ll also need to make sure that your users see the cost of something in their local currency and you’ll want to save yourself the headache of having text that can’t be translated in your graphics.

Let Your Website Do The Talking

When you’re operating a business, whether from an office or your own home, you need to have an online presence. It is through this that you will be able to gain custom. This isn’t necessarily just through your own website; there are so many more platforms to be used in conjunction with this, especially social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. It’s through the combination of all of these that you have got the recipe for online success – it’s just about finding out the dashes and sprinkles of your own branding and personality to add to it and following it down to a tee rather than deviating off down other paths.

Make It Stand Out

There are a myriad of different ways to get your website to stand out, but the most obvious (and the one that needs the most attention) is the design of it all. If you are not too au fait with getting websites built yourself, it’s time to outsource to somebody who does. There are plenty of freelancers available online for you to get in touch with. Look for somebody who has been highly recommended by people who have used them before; there are usually websites with reviews on them that have come from trusted sources. These people are living off the recommendations that they to get their next job, and so they want to impress you. Make sure that you communicate your ideas clear and effectively to get the best job done for you. Include what you want from your website, who your target demographic is and other bits and bobs that you want added in – maybe a few online games, for example, if your site is more child-orientated. Remember: the longer that you keep the customer on your website, the more invested in your business they will be.

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Keep Them Coming Back

After the design of your website, you need to ensure that you are keeping those who have originally visited coming back. This can be for a number of reasons; those who are bloggers and are living off the revenue of their website may be wanting people back on their site so that they can generate more money via sponsored links and posts. For those who aren’t generating any money, it’s still important to keep a good presence. Whether it’s through small updates to your website, blog posts informing your customers of what’s going on with your business (even just a quick update can be enough to satisfy their interest!) or links to your social media accounts, these are all things which will keep your site active and current. The last thing that somebody wants is to head over to a point of information and find out that it hasn’t been updated in months (or in some cases years – shocking, isn’t it?). You have to keep up to demand when you’re in business and recognise that the majority of this demand is now coming from the digital side rather than in person.

Time to Put On Your Design Thinking Cap

Why should your enterprise embrace design thinking? Design thinking employs both brain hemispheres. It uses rational, critical logic as well as creativity to focus on solutions. Adopting this methodology helps decision makers optimize their choices. It offers a way to attain better outcomes.

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This article explains why entrepreneurs should embrace this methodology to enhance decision-making.

Why Does Design Thinking Matter?

You won’t need to apply design thinking to tackle every minor obstacle, of course. Instead, you’ll want to employ this approach whenever you seek innovative answers to perplexing or challenging questions. Typical situations that call for design thinking include:

  • Unexpected market disruptions;
  • Revitalizing corporate cultures;
  • Developing new business models, and more!

By applying this methodology through a consistent, well-structured iterative cycle, you’ll discover creative ways to offer greater value to your customers. These transformations foster healthy business expansion and growth. A series of uniform steps enable this iterative paradigm to promote desired changes: (1) careful observation; (2) identifying innovation opportunities; (3) brainstorming creative solutions; (4) conducting appropriate testing and (5) refining solutions.

Putting Customers First

Design thinking revolves around placing customers in a paramount position within your business framework. Previous generations of business executives adhered to the slogan: “the customer is always right”. Implementing creative design thinking requires your enterprise to uphold a slightly different motto: “the customer always comes first.”

The process of making customers a focus of your attention involves several important steps. These considerations fit together in a holistic way:

Identify The Customer

Your enterprise must clearly identify your customers in order to develop useful innovations on their behalf. Market research assists this process.

Conduct Market Research

Market research typically entails many steps. Use this business tool to learn more about the underlying problem your product or service addresses.

Personalize The Customer Experience

Today, customers value personalized assistance. Finding ways to enhance the customization of a service or a product has benefited many small businesses recently.

Develop Measures For Success

Your enterprise needs to establish clear markers for evaluating your success in addressing customer needs. Creative design techniques can help your organization contribute tangible value if you can measure the results effectively. Determining the value of a good or service to the customer helps you achieve this vital result.

Identify Customer Problems

Design thinking involves engaging with your customers proactively. You’ll need to understand the way problems impact them and develop empathy with them to better appreciate their experience using your goods or services.

Use Ideation Techniques to Identify Problem Solutions

Ideation techniques (such as brainstorming) followed by targeted customer feedback assists many businesses. Enterprises employ these tools in devising solutions for perceived problems. Used effectively, this approach can help your design team improve the customer experience.

Produce a Prototype

You’ll want to generate prototypes to enable your team to conduct preliminary market testing, perhaps with the assistance of focus groups. Development teams may then use this information to refine prototypes.

Test And Refine Solutions

Testing and tweaking proposed solutions in an iterative process holds value. It enables you to identify ways to enhance customer satisfaction.

Towards Enhanced Collaboration

Developing a genuinely collaborative, positive organizational culture won’t replace promoting creativity and innovation with design thinking. However, by implementing this methodology, your enterprise enables collaboration to flourish. By placing the needs and interests of the customer first, everyone focuses upon a shared goal.

Design thinking helps enterprises revolutionize and democratize group work environments. In the past, a speaker’s seniority or rank within a hierarchy often determined the value decision makers placed upon proposed innovations. When organizations adopt creative design thinking, this prioritization changes radically. Instead, an idea’s potential value to customers determines its significance.

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In order to supply superb customer service, everyone within an enterprise committed to creative design thinking works together as a team. The process of making changes tends to build group consensus. While disagreements do occur from time to time, the overall goal of placing the customer first provides a unifying basis for informed decision-making. This result holds many byproducts, which benefit the organization: a highly motivated, enthusiastic workforce; decreased job turnover; enhanced individual job satisfaction. Ultimately, this group effort produces better results for the enterprise as a whole.

A Worthwhile Achievement

Creative design thinking empowers business enterprises to serve customers more effectively. By focusing on customers as a priority, everyone in the organization achieves a greater sense of fulfillment. This process helps generate revolutionary innovations while also forging stronger organizational cohesion. Consider implementing this facile management cycle to infuse constructive changes into worn, tired business systems.
Author Bio

Heather Redding is a part time assistant manager and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys swimming and reading. Street photography is her newly discovered artistic outlet and she likes to capture life’s little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.