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If a company counted roughly half of the U.S. population as customers, you’d be pretty eager to use that platform to advertise your business, right?
Well, that’s exactly what Walmart Marketplace allows you to do. It gives you the ability to reach a huge market of highly targeted, engaged consumers, so why doesn’t it get as much attention as other platforms such as Amazon?
If you’re not on Walmart Marketplace already, then chances are you should be. Here’s how you can use advertising to get the most out of it.
Walmart Marketplace is where third-party sellers can upload, manage, and sell their products on Walmart’s website.
As the largest retailer in the world, it was only a matter of time before Walmart started to flex its muscles in e-commerce, and in recent years, it’s seen tremendous growth thanks in part to Walmart Marketplace. With a large audience and millions of engaged shoppers, Walmart Marketplace could be a necessity for any online retailer in the same way that Amazon is.
Getting your products on Walmart Marketplace is a great step to take, but to maximize your sales, you should consider how you advertise. Marketplace offers lots of useful ways to reach your target customer, and you may find they can provide a very good return on ad spend (ROAS.)
Understanding your customers is the only marketing strategy you need. A big part of this is reaching your customers where they hang out. For 150 million Americans a week, that’s at Walmart.
The stats behind Walmart are significant, and just by looking at the numbers, you can get a sense of why it’s important to be on Walmart Marketplace:
Walmart isn’t just about its physical stores, though. It’s also got a large e-commerce presence, and many of its shoppers are engaging with it. The buyer journey is truly omnichannel in the modern world, with 35 percent of Walmart shoppers researching products on Walmart.com before they go to a physical store.
Amazon might have a bigger profile in the online world, but this doesn’t mean Walmart Marketplace is some hidden gem where you can achieve easy success. There’s a huge amount of competition on Marketplace, and while growing your profile organically is important, you’ve also got to make the most of the advertising options available to you.
These options may look very similar to other large online marketplaces, but there are some unique features on Walmart Marketplace you can use to your advantage.
In recent years, Walmart Marketplace has been rapidly growing and improving the seller experience. If you’re familiar with Amazon Seller Central, then you will notice a lot of similarities, but some features differ slightly.
On Walmart Marketplace, you can:
Every step in this process is important, so your Marketplace account is a key place you will visit regularly. Small details make a big difference when it comes to selling online, so it’s important you write great product descriptions, choose the right price points (Walmart is quite sensitive about this, so be sure to read all the terms and conditions), and come up with an effective fulfillment plan.
Like with Amazon, you can send your products to a Walmart fulfillment center, but this feature works very differently, with sellers having a lot more control over the shipping process.
To get the most out of these features, you must understand your own business well and create a business plan for how you’re going to maximize your sales on Walmart Marketplace.
Advertising isn’t one-size-fits-all. People go through a complicated customer journey when buying your products, so you need to be able to reach them in a variety of different ways.
Walmart advertising is particularly good at this, offering advertisers many different tools to help them reach their target audience.
With six different ad types, it allows you to reach customers at the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the buyer process, establishing your brand in people’s minds and driving sales.
To set up each type of ad, simply:
When we think of search engines, we think of Google, Bing, and Duck Duck Go. We don’t think of social media platforms or big e-commerce platforms like Walmart Marketplace or Amazon.
That’s exactly what these platforms are, though. They’re search engines that allow people to find and buy products. This means the types of Walmart advertising you use probably look very similar to the PPC ads you run on Google.
Search in grid Walmart ads allow your products to be featured when a customer types a certain query into the search bar. For example, if your keyword is “nuts,” your product will show in the search grid when people type that query.
Like with traditional search engines, it takes time to build your organic presence on Marketplace, so search in grid Walmart advertising gives you the ability to feature at the top of the results more quickly.
To set one of these ads, your products must fulfill several requirements:
Once you meet all these requirements, then search in grid ads are an ideal way to get your products in front of your target audience.
Whereas search in grid ads are all about getting a certain product in front of your audience, brand amplifier ads are about showcasing your brand.
You might have a whole range of exciting products that people want to try, and in this case, a brand amplifier may be the right form of Walmart advertising for you. Rather than your product appearing in the search results, a brand amplifier shows a banner with your brand name and a selection of your products above the results.
This is a great way to boost brand recognition and get people to engage with your products.
With an eye-catching logo, a customizable headline, and up to three of your products shown, this can help you grab people’s attention and encourage them to explore your brand further.
Sometimes people shop online and know exactly what they want, but in many cases, they want to compare products to find the best one. To help people do this, Walmart places product carousels that show customers different product options on search, category, and product pages.
Some of the results on the product carousel appear organically, but some are paid ads.
This is another opportunity to reach a targeted audience with your products. If someone is already looking at a product page and comparing their options, chances are they’re motivated to buy, and this is an excellent time to bring them to your product pages.
These different forms of Walmart advertising might seem very similar, but they each have their benefits. Another great option is the Buy Box.
The Buy Box appears on product pages and offers your product as an alternative to the one they’re looking at, which makes it a great place for your product to appear. If the customer has any issues with the product they’re considering, then the next option they’re presented with is to check out your product.
With the Buy Box, customers can quickly compare two products, so it’s a perfect place for your ad to appear. It puts your product in the mind of the buyer and establishes it as a viable alternative.
Getting your product noticed at this late stage in the buyer’s journey is a great tool to have.
Walmart advertising isn’t limited to result-based product ads; it also offers options for more content-based advertising through its display ads.
Just as Google allows advertisers to display ads that pop up on websites across the internet, Walmart offers a similar feature. They allow you to reach customers at many different stages of the customer journey, whether they’re on Walmart-owned properties or third-party websites.
Onsite display ads are content-based ads that allow you to advertise across all of Walmart’s platforms, including Walmart.com and Walmart apps.
Display ads are prominent features across the web, and they’re a chance to grab people’s attention and earn their clicks. To do this, you’ve got to be creative with your ads, and it’s no different on Walmart.
One advantage you have with Walmart is that you benefit from the huge amount of data it has on people’s shopping habits. This enables you to choose your ideal Walmart customer to target and make sure you’re getting your ads in front of the right people.
With onsite display, your ads become truly omnichannel, reaching people however they interact with Walmart and allowing you to see your results all in one place.
Just because someone has clicked away from your product page doesn’t mean they won’t purchase in the future.
They may have been doing some initial research and are thinking about coming back to your product later. When someone leaves your product page, you want to make sure your brand remains fresh in their mind.
Offsite display ads can be the perfect way to make sure people don’t forget about your products.
Through retargeting, you can reach targeted Walmart customers across the internet. These display ads can show on social media platforms and third-party websites, making sure your product stays in the mind of your audience, and they’re able to quickly go back and make a purchase.
Retargeting can be an extremely efficient use of your budget if you’re using the right strategies, and Walmart gives you all the tools you need to do this.
To succeed in marketing, you need to make sure you’re advertising on the platforms your customers are using. For 150 million Americans, Walmart is that platform. Of course, to make the most of your audience, you also need the right tools. With a rapidly growing online presence, that’s precisely what Walmart can offer you.
Boosting your organic presence is a crucial part of being on any marketplace, but Walmart advertising also offers you an excellent platform to sell more products. If you can be targeted and creative with your use of Walmart advertising, you could expand your reach and boost sales quickly.
As ever with advertising, it’s about finding the strategies that work best for you, and Walmart gives you more than enough tools to do this. Your customers are spending money at Walmart every week, so when are you going to start taking a piece of the pie?
Have you advertised on Walmart Marketplace? What was your experience?
Cloud computing has taken over in recent years, and it offers many opportunities for businesses and users. The terminology can be a little complex though, and like with many IT-related things, there are lots of acronyms that get thrown around.
IaaS is one acronym you might have seen, but what does it mean, and how can it affect your e-commerce store?
If you’re creating a website today, there’s a good chance it’s going to be hosted in the cloud. Very few companies maintain their own servers; instead, they rely on third-party companies to take care of many elements of their online presence.
The distinction between IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service) is crucial because it dictates what level of control you have over your website.
For some businesses, particularly those with large, complex e-commerce sites, infrastructure as a service will likely be the best option because it allows for greater flexibility and control.
Every day, more and more businesses move their infrastructure to the cloud, and it’s important they understand how best to use it to get the best results. IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS are simply ways of describing how you use the cloud—and each business will do this slightly differently.
Today, 90% of businesses use the cloud. According to some estimates, cloud data centers will soon process 94% of workloads.
This means it’s vitally crucial for businesses to understand what they’re investing in and how they can make the most of cloud computing.
When it comes to cloud computing, it can seem like you’re constantly being bombarded by acronyms. Actually, IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS are useful distinctions that can help you run your e-commerce store more efficiently.
Cloud computing is all about allowing you to take care of the bits you’re good at and leaving the rest to professionals. Each business has different skill sets, so they’re going to use the cloud in different ways.
For example, in a bootstrapped business, the owner might be building the entire website with limited funds. In this case, they might only want to focus on the basics of creating a functional, appealing store and leave aspects such as runtime, servers, and storage to an external company.
On the other hand, a big multinational business may have a host of developers and IT professionals capable of handling more complex functions.
IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and Serverless Computing give businesses the flexibility to control different parts of the cloud.
IaaS is the cloud-based alternative to maintaining on-site infrastructure. Whereas in the past, businesses would have had their own data centers. Today, it can be much more efficient to utilize the cloud.
Maintaining your own IT infrastructure can be costly, and most businesses don’t have the skills to do this without an external company’s help. With IaaS, businesses don’t need to maintain their infrastructure. Instead, they pay to use a third-party’s servers, networking technology, storage, and data center space.
For businesses running e-commerce sites, this means they don’t have to worry about the highly technical aspects of running a web application and they don’t have to invest in expensive infrastructure. Instead, they pay for access to infrastructure through the cloud through companies like AWS, IBM, and Rackspace.
While things like storage and networking are taken care of by the third party, this option still leaves you in charge of the following aspects:
This is important for larger businesses because it gives them much more control over how they run their site, while still offering a scalable, cost-effective solution.
Like IaaS, PaaS leaves key components such as physical compute, network, storage, and virtualization to the provider. However, with PaaS, you also outsource runtime, middleware, and O/S.
As the name suggests, PaaS gives you the platform to develop, run, and manage applications without having to take care of the infrastructure behind it.
While this means you have less to worry about, and need fewer technical skills, it also means you have less control over how you run your e-commerce site than with IaaS.
Whichever service you choose, there is a tradeoff between convenience and control. With PaaS, you’re getting something of a middle ground between IaaS and SaaS. While much of the service is managed, you’re still in control of applications and data, which can be valuable for certain businesses.
This makes PaaS providers such as Magento Commerce Cloud and Bluehost particularly popular with developers, as it provides everything they need to create new applications without having to invest in expensive infrastructure and operating platforms.
Instead, they pay for what they need, allowing them to focus more on building the applications.
Businesses are constantly searching for the most efficient ways to use the cloud, and another option is serverless computing.
Serverless computing is very similar to PaaS, but has a few slight differences.
One of the main differences between serverless computing and PaaS is that serverless is event-driven. You pay only for what you use, whereas with PaaS, you pay a monthly fee and have a limit to what you can use.
Serverless computing automatically scales with your business, but you’ll give up some control. It does allow you to be extremely flexible though, saving on costs while still getting excellent performance.
This is an ideal option for fast-growing e-commerce sites or those creating viral content that may cause a massive traffic spike.
For many people, SaaS is the quickest and easiest way to set up an e-commerce store. Using providers like Shopify, you use third-party platforms and apps to quickly create a functional store.
The obvious benefit of this is convenience. Not everybody who wants to create an e-commerce store has IT expertise and SaaS means they don’t have to. Rather than focusing on networking and hosting, they simply have to focus on building out their website and creating the content that’s going to help them sell.
SaaS applications are very common across the internet. Not only are there lots of SaaS applications that help people run their e-commerce stores but software such as Microsoft 365, Google Cloud, and HubSpot are all examples of SaaS.
The downside for e-commerce stores that run on SaaS is that they’re limited in what they can do. If you have a Shopify store, then you have to work within the limitations set by that third party. When you run your store through IaaS or PaaS, there are fewer limitations, giving you greater control over your store.
Cloud computing has made it much more accessible to create an e-commerce site. No longer do you have to invest in expensive hardware and instead, you can pay for access to infrastructure as and when you need it.
This has opened up e-commerce to a wide variety of people. With SaaS, it’s not necessary to have IT skills to create a competitive store. However, with the ease of creating and managing a store through SaaS comes limitations.
Many businesses possess the skills to handle the more technical aspects of running an e-commerce site, and they want to be able to make the most of those skills without building their infrastructure. IaaS is the perfect option for these businesses as it allows them to strike a profitable balance.
These businesses can use infrastructure as and when they need it, scaling as their business grows and shrinks.
With IaaS, you have maximum control over your e-commerce store, allowing you to make the most of your creative and IT skills without building the infrastructure yourself.
One of the most important things when choosing between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS is understanding the skills and resources available to you. If you don’t have people with experience in building and developing web applications, then IaaS isn’t going to be the best option for you, and it might be better to look at a SaaS option.
If you’re confident you can create and maintain a high-level store through IaaS, then the next step is understanding your needs. There are lots of different IaaS providers out there, and many different packages to choose from.
Each business is different, and will have different requirements. When choosing a provider, consider the following questions:
The whole idea of “as a service” is that you pay for the parts you need, freeing you up to take care of the bits you can handle. To get the most out of this concept, you need to have a clear picture of where your skills lie, and how your provider can take care of the rest.
When choosing an IaaS package, you must take the time to get the one that best fits your business needs. There are lots of different options out there, and choosing the right tools can make all the difference to your business:
As you can see, there are lots of different options out there, and this is just a small sample. The important thing is making sure you get the services your business needs without paying for resources you don’t.
It might take a little extra research to unlock the true power of IaaS for your business, but it’s certainly worth it in the long run.
There are many different ways to run an e-commerce store, and how you use the cloud is a key consideration when setting up or expanding your store.
Maintaining onsite infrastructure can be expensive and time-consuming, and with modern cloud products, there isn’t much need for it.
The bigger question is: what do you need from the cloud?
For large-scale e-commerce sites, with tons of resources at their disposal, infrastructure as a service is often the best way to go. This provides greater control over your site than PaaS or SaaS options and is a cost-effective way to scale your business.
When you utilize the cloud well, it can help you maximize your store’s profitability, so it’s essential to make the right choice.
How does your e-commerce store use the cloud?
If you run an e-Commerce brand, there’s a good chance you have an Instagram account. How much time do you spend on your Instagram bio, though? You probably spend far more time crafting great-looking posts and engaging stories.
How long should E-commcerce companies spend writing their best Instagram bios?
It’s important to have an excellent bio since it’s one of the first things a user sees when they visit your Instagram profile. Often, however, it’s often an afterthought for brands that care more about their posts than their profile as a whole.
That’s a mistake. Bios aren’t user’s first impressions of your brand and set the tone of the whole account. Your brand’s bio needs to grab the user’s attention and get your core USPs across as quickly as possible.
Doing so is far from easy, however. That’s why I’ve drawn up a list of 10 of the best Instagram bios so you can see how it’s done.
When in doubt, I find it best to look at what’s working for the top brands in the industry. As they say, good artists copy, great artists steal.
Below, I’ve compiled some of the best ecommerce Instagram bios out there right now and highlighted what makes them so effective.
BarkBox is a monthly subscription box of dog treats and toys serving over one million dogs across the country. You knew that already, though, from their very descriptive Instagram bio.
That’s one of the reasons this bio is so good. Even if you’ve never heard of BarkBox before, you know exactly what they sell as soon as you read the first line.
That’s not the only reason I love it. BarkBox also does a great job of pointing consumers to other profiles they might like. Parent company Bark gets a shoutout, as does Super Chewer, the company’s extra tough toys. It’s topped off by a hashtag that shows users how they can get involved by posting their own content.
MVMT sells premium yet affordable, American watches, sunglasses, and other accessories. They have a big Instagram following, and for a good reason. Not only do the brand’s posts look cool, but almost all of them are shoppable with the click of a button.
MVMT begins its bio with an emotive call to action that sums up what the brand stands for. Like BarkBox, MVMT uses hashtags to encourage audience engagement and point users to a sister brand. Most important of all is the call to action at the end of the bio, which tells users about their brand new watch range.
Pela Case makes the world’s first compostable phone case, along with several other accessories like sunglasses, watch straps, and AirPod cases.
Sustainability is key for this brand, and they use the globe and seedling emojis to make that point very clear. They also use emojis to highlight their CTA link as well as bullet points to give the bio a clear layout.
The succinct way that Pela sum up their USPs also makes this bio stand out. The most important facts about the brand are made clear in the first two lines. If that weren’t enough, they also update the bio regularly. In the screenshot above, for instance, they’ve got an International Women’s Day-related CTA.
Supply is a razor and grooming company that was featured on Shark Tank. Humor is the order of the day for Supply. Their bio lists a series of real-life reviews by well-known organizations and ends with a self-deprecating one-liner that shows the brand doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Supply doesn’t stop there, however. Their CTA also uses humor and intrigue to increase the likelihood that users click on their URL significantly. This brand knows their target audience loves this kind of humor, and they execute it perfectly.
Who Gives a Crap sells bamboo and recycled toilet paper. It also donates 50 percent of its profits to improve sanitation in the developing world.
Who Gives a Crap is another brand that uses emojis to grab user’s attention and structure their bio. In doing so, they’re able to get across a huge amount of information in a small space. You know what they do, why they do it, and the product’s USPs. You even know where they ship, too. It’s not even a struggle to read it!
Brooklinen is a DTC brand selling luxury bedding. They put comfort and quality before everything else and that shines through in their stylish bio and account.
At first glance, Brooklinen’s bio may not look particularly special. There are no emojis, for instance, but that’s because they aren’t on brand. Instead, there is a very specific call to action, which is to visit their store in person.
This is what makes Brooklinen’s Instagram bio so good, in my opinion. While other brands focus on driving you to their online store, they show they aren’t just an ecommerce store—you can see their products in person, too.
Haus Laboratories is the beauty brand from Lady Gaga and that’s not something they hide in their Instagram bio. That’s a good thing since it’s probably the brand’s biggest selling point.
Next, the brand sends a powerful and emotive message to readers, showing they aren’t just a faceless make-up brand. Finally, they use emoji to capture Lady Gaga’s tone of voice and point users in the direction of their CTA. A Gaga-reat job all around.
MeUndies sells what they claim to be the most comfortable underwear in the world. Their branding is fun, bold, and colorful, and they make a point of getting that across in their Instagram bio.
A clever pun in the first line gets the bio off to a great start and is quickly followed up by a cheeky peach emoji. The heart emoji is in an on-brand color and highlights the fact that a new design is on sale (a common feature of MeUndies). If that weren’t enough, another emoji points users in the direction of the CTA link where users can shop. Peachy.
The Sill sends indoor potted plants directly to your door. Their offering is all about making your home look great and their branding reflects the elegance plants can add to your home.
Their Instagram bio drives that brand promise home in the first line. Selling “the best looking plants on the internet” is a bold claim, but it’s the kind of claim that will make users spend time browsing their posts to find out. That’s a win right there.
The Sill also uses a hashtag to let consumers browse user-generated content for added social proof and uses an emoji to break up the copy. A beautiful job all around.
American Giant is an American clothing brand that aims to make better clothes right here in the U.S.A. This belief in making better quality products, with better materials, and better techniques is one of its core USPs.
No wonder their tagline is mentioned in the very first line of the bio. They reinforce that tagline with a crystal clear message about making high-quality clothing in the U.S. and back that up with an American flag emoji, in case there was any doubt.
The bio is topped off with call-to-action encouraging users to create their own content with the brand’s hashtag and a link to their store.
You’ve seen how the biggest brands in the industry do it; now it’s time to create your own. Here are a few tips to help you get it right.
Is it a piece of marketing material if it doesn’t have a call to action? I don’t think so, and your Instagram bio definitely is one.
Instagram followers shouldn’t land on your profile and ask “now what?” Instead, give them a clear and obvious action to take. It’s even more important on Instagram because your bio is the only place in your profile where you can place an outbound link. Don’t waste it!
Calls to action for E-ommerce brands could be to visit your store, shop your profile or sign up for your email list. You don’t have to stop at one CTA, either. You could recommend users follow your sister brand’s account (like BarkBox), visit your store (Brooklinen), or get in touch with support (The Sill).
Hashtags are a great way to encourage user-generated content (UGC). Encouraging UGC should be one of your top goals on Instagram. User posts featuring your products are great at generating buzz and providing much-needed social proof.
Adding a hashtag also gives consumers a way to quickly search your own and other users’ posts about your brand, which is great for users who aren’t familiar with who you are and what you sell.
Trust me, when you look at dozens of Instagram profiles a day, the creative ones really shine through. The more your bio stands out from the crowd, the more likely users are to stick around, view your posts, and maybe even hit follow.
It could be how you layout your profile, what you say, how you say it, or the emojis you use. While you should definitely learn lessons from the brands above, please don’t copy them completely. Forge your own path. 3.
One of the best ways to be creative is to let your brand’s personality shine through in your bio. You’ve worked hard to develop your brand’s unique tone of voice, so make sure you use it when crafting your copy.
It won’t just give new users insight into the kind of brand you are, it will make regular customers feel at home.
You only have 150 characters to work within an Instagram bio, so brevity is essential. Don’t waste time explaining who you are. That’s what your name and profile image are for. The focus should be on the what and the why.
You need to explain what sets you apart from competitors and what your brand stands for if you want users to hit follow. If it’s not obvious to users, they won’t waste time trying to work you out.
While you may not have many characters to use in your Instagram bio, you do have plenty of space to play with. Make sure you use it.
Rather than write two or three sentences in a row (however witty or concise they are), try adding line breaks or emojis into your bio to make it as easy to read as possible.
A bullet point list of short, punchy sentences is much easier to read. Don’t forget to prioritize your layout for mobile devices, either. Very few people, if any, will be looking at your Instagram page on a laptop or desktop computer.
Emojis are a great hack to make your bio both readable and concise. They may not say one thousand words, but they can save a few dozen characters when used well.
They are also a great way to break up your copy and help users see what your brand is about.
Emojis don’t work for every brand, however, especially if you sell serious or business-orientated products. Even brands that don’t rely on humor (like American Giant) can use specific emojis in a subtle way.
I can feel you raising your eyebrows about using keywords on Instagram, but hear me out. While your profile name and handle help people to find you, Instagram will also use what you write in your bio to determine what your page is about.
That makes it essential to have your most important keywords in there somewhere. Look at BarkBox, as an example. They have “toys, treats, and chews” in their bio for that reason. Pela Case has “compostable phone case” too.
The good news is if you create a succinct and concise bio, you’ve probably included keywords already. If not, pick the one or two that are most important and include them in your first line.
Not your brand, though.
You’ve seen some of the best Instagram bios and understand what features make their bios stand apart from the rest. Now it’s time to craft your own powerful bio that captures users’ attention and directs them to your store.
Be concise, show your brand’s personality, and don’t forget to include a clear call to action.
If you need help for developing your social media strategy (and content marketing and SEO), reach out. We can help you!
What steps are you going to take to improve your Instagram bio?
“Got skills? Sell ’em.”
This mantra has seen millions of freelancers turn to the internet and become location-independent.
That’s not all.
Over the last decade, service marketplaces have sprung up and distributed how we work and live.
For instance, Airbnb, a marketplace for vacation rentals, has over four million hosts who have welcomed over 800 million guests. Food delivery service marketplaces are expected to reach $154.34 billion in 2023.
The success of current platforms is one of the main reasons entrepreneurs are looking to get into the business.
In this post, I’m breaking down everything you need to know about service marketplaces and how to launch one people will use.
A service marketplace is a website or app for buying and selling services. Freelancers, private individuals, or companies in various industries can advertise their services and get hired by people who need their help.
The most successful service marketplaces cater to a specific market and redefine how we manage our lives.
For example, Upwork and Fiverr have changed how companies find freelancers for gigs. These online marketplaces have also made remote work more accessible to millions of people around the world. Meanwhile, Uber and Airbnb have disrupted how we travel, created more jobs within the gig community, and given homeowners a way to make extra cash on the side.
The service industry is lucrative. In the U.S. alone, the consumer service economy is worth a whopping $9.7 trillion.
If getting a slice of that pie isn’t enough to tempt you, here are some of the top benefits for creating a service marketplace.
Curious about how to start your marketplace? Here are the top four things to keep in mind if you want yours to become successful.
The trick to finding a winning service marketplace idea is understanding the needs of sellers and buyers.
Apps like TaskRabbit and Postmates are successful because both companies figured out how to solve a problem by making it easier and cheaper to sell and buy those services.
Here are some tips for researching your niche to find a business idea:
Once you have an idea for your service marketplace, the next step is to create your website.
There are a few places to do this, including:
Whichever option you go with, there are some key features you need to include to make sure it’s a great experience for everyone involved.
Want to create a niche service marketplace for your city, region, or country? You’ll need to optimize your site for local SEO.
Local SEO is similar to organic SEO, but it focuses on the geographical element and is aimed at a group of people from a specific area.
To grow their market share and start attracting users, local traffic is a top priority for anyone selling in a certain market. In fact, 46 percent of Google searches are local, which means you’re potentially leaving a lot of money on the table by not optimizing for local SEO.
When creating your website, think about the search terms people in your area would use to find the services you offer. For example, “need help moving in [city].” Another thing to consider is the keywords service providers would use to find a gig, such as “freelance writing jobs in [city].”
While Google usually automatically assumes people are searching for services or products in their area, making sure your location’s name is involved is essential in case someone is coming from out of town.
Below, I’m breaking down the simplest marketing considerations to think about when you want to open your online service marketplace.
You can have the best marketplace with all the bells and whistles and still not succeed if you don’t have a specific problem to solve.
You need one to stand out from everyone else and make sure you’re attracting the right people to your platform.
For example, the problem Upwork solves is finding reputable freelancers quickly.
Your marketing strategy will flop if you haven’t taken the time to understand who your target audience is. This involves determining what demographics you’re targeting, including age, background, consumption habits, and more.
Google blogs in your niche, and read the comments to see what questions people ask and how they talk about their problems. Hop onto Quora and see what questions people are asking.
If you want more information, create a market research survey. Send it out to people in your network who would be a good fit. You can take it a step further and post your survey in relevant Facebook groups to get even more feedback.
Your next step in your marketing strategy is finding sellers and buyers to join your marketplace.
Luckily, there are quite a few ways you can do this without investing in paid search or social media advertising. You just have to know who your target audience is and where they hang out online.
Here are some of the most well-known and successful marketplaces:
A service marketplace can be a profitable business model if you’ve done your homework. Before investing in hosting plans or platforms, make sure you have a problem your marketplace can solve.
Despite the competition you’ll face, if you have a solid niche and you market your platform to the right people, you can achieve the same success as the Upworks and TaskRabbits of the world.
What problem do you think a service marketplace will solve in your industry?
Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
One platform where you can sell just about anything to anyone anywhere? That’s Shopify in a nutshell. But once you unpack it, it’s easy to see why it powers over 1 million websites and manages billions in sales.
Gone are the days when you had to figure out how to start an ecommerce site from scratch. With Shopify, having a virtual storefront up and running is possible in a matter of minutes. It offers you plenty of marketing tools to make your store a success from the start.
Whether you’re a small business starting up or you’re already raking in millions in sales, Shopify is an extremely powerful ecommerce website builder that helps your online business empire run smoothly, capture sales, and grow.
So what sets Shopify apart from other ecommerce platforms out there? To put it simply, it does a great job of managing all the moving parts of an ecommerce business by being accessible, versatile, and easy to use. While there are other ecommerce platforms out there like Wix or Bigcommerce, they tend to have their limits with what you can and can’t do.
Drag-and-drop builders, customer analytics, a built-in payment processing system, 24/7 support, and ready-made templates are only the tip of the iceberg when you really look into everything Shopify has to offer. But you shouldn’t just take my word for it.
See all of our top picks to see how each ecommerce platform stacks up to ensure you’re making the best decision for your online business.
Shopify is for anyone that wants to easily start an ecommerce store and drive online sales. Because of its all-in-one nature, it isn’t just for one niche or one type of store, which is good news for you.
While Shopify rules in the ecommerce platform space, it might not always mean it’s the best platform for you. As with every other ecommerce platform, there are pros and cons to consider.
Built-in payment processor: With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about using a third-party payment processor. It’s all built-in for you and ready to accept payments once you’ve listed your products and hit the publish button.
With their payment processor, you can accept all major credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and even cryptocurrency. This means one less thing to actively manage in your store and increased trust with your customers.
The ability to scale: With Shopify, you don’t have to jump ship once you see your store start to grow in traffic and sales. It’s equipped to support your store whether you’re making three or three million sales a day.
Plenty of guides and documentation: Shopify does an excellent job at providing its merchants with plenty of how-to guides, theme documentation, and an active Shopify Community help forum with over 7,000 members where you can have all your Shopify questions answered.
Accepts different types of currency: If you use its built-in Shopify Payments gateway, you can easily start selling in multiple currencies by adding a currency selector to your theme. If international customers want to see how much an item is in their currency, they can easily find out by choosing the appropriate currency.
Effective Inventory system: With Shopify, you can get an accurate handle of your inventory by tracking the number of items on hand as they sell, adjusting inventory counts, and looking at inventory history.
Free and paid apps and themes: Once you start a store with Shopify, a world of over 4,000 apps and over 100 store themes is at your fingertips. And plenty of them are free too, which is convenient if you’re starting on a shoestring budget.
Drag-and-drop theme builder: The pinnacle of “easy” as far as building an online store is concerned is a drag-and-drop builder, which you can use with Shopify to make sure your store looks exactly how you want it to–without drowning in endless code.
Stellar customer support: Once you start a store with Shopify, you can be sure its customer support is unmatched in terms of response times— especially its 24/7 chat support. It’s personally gotten me out of trouble in a matter of minutes more times than I can count.
SEO-friendly: With Shopify, your products have a real chance of ranking in search engines for keywords once you’ve optimized your products and pages. It makes this easy by providing plenty of SEO-friendly features like setting alt descriptions for images, meta descriptions, and integrating SEO apps for advanced optimization.
Higher price for in-depth analytics: With Shopify’s beginner plan you get access to a limited scope of store analytics. To access in-depth analytics that can move the needle in terms of sales strategy, you’ll have to pay for a more expensive plan.
Transaction fees for third-party payments: With Shopify, you can easily accept payment without trouble through their Shopify Payments gateway. But if you choose to go through a third party to collect a payment, Shopify does charge you fees, starting at 0.5 percent. This can eat at your profit margins.
Limited blogging tools: There’s no question Shopify is the place to sell your goods, but it is still limited as a blogging platform since it only offers you the basic blogging tools to publish content. If content marketing is a primary way you bring in sales and traffic, this is an important con to consider.
Shopify has your standard three price points for small to medium businesses that want access to a number of different store features. But it doesn’t stop there.
It also offers a $9 a month “lite” plan as well as a more powerful Shopify Plus plan that starts at $2,000 a month for big businesses that handle high sales volumes.
Shopify’s basic tier at $29 a month offers plenty of dashboard analytics, fulfillment features, and product listing options. It’s the best tier for new businesses that are getting their start and still in the midst of figuring out sales and branding.
This tier offers unlimited product listing and two admin accounts.
When you’re ready for the Shopify tier at $79 a month, you’ll get access to five admin accounts, a 2.6% + 30¢ credit card fee rate, and you can sell in up to two languages.
Finally, you have the Advanced Shopify option at $299 a month. This is a tier you’ll only want to sign up for once you need advanced features that’ll help you scale your business and you’ve devised a proven sales strategy with sustained sales month over month. You get a 2.4% + 30¢ online credit card rate, as well as the ability to sell in up to five languages.
Keep in mind that each tier comes with a free SSL certificate, discount codes, unlimited products, 24/7 support, additional sales channels like eBay, Amazon, Instagram, and Walmart, a full dashboard where you’ll get access to customize all your store settings, and a drag-and-drop theme builder. Before you make any real decisions, I recommend you check out their plan features page for a complete list of features for each tier.
Shopify Lite – $9 a month
You don’t have or want a full-blown store, but still sell products or services on your own site and around the web? Just use the Shopify Lite plan as a lightweight option to cover all your bases.
The beauty of the Shopify Lite plan is in how easy it is to add buy buttons to any site you want. You can accept credit cards anywhere— both online and in-person with their POS app. Through the Shopify dashboard, you can create and send invoices as well as custom orders. Whatever you updated through your dashboard gets updated everywhere else you’ve set up points of sale online.
And of course, you’ll also have access to their 24/7 support through email or live chat. The lite plan is an excellent option for a lighter store without all the hassle. Not to mention it’s also incredibly affordable at just $9 a month.
Shopify Plus – $2,000 a month
The Shopify plus solution is trusted by more than 7,000 giants including Rebecca Minkoff, Allbirds, Rothy’s, Good American, and Heinz as the best and most cost-effective solution for their ecommerce needs.
The Shopify Plus plan is designed to support smaller close-knit teams as they man millions in sales all from one place: their Shopify dashboard. This means where you once needed 300 people to run your store, now you only need 30. Also, if you’re re-platforming to Shopify, instead of taking the traditional 6-8 months to transfer the bulk of your store, with Shopify that time gets cut in half.
This may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not–especially when you consider some of this plan’s features.
Here are some of Shopify Plus’ best and most powerful features:
You can forget legacy enterprise software when Shopify offers all the enterprise power you need to sell at scale successfully.
So far we’ve gone through the exhaustive list of features Shopify offers you to successfully host, stock, and run an online store. But everything I’ve highlighted so far is only the beginning.
Shopify offers a wide variety of additional tools— some free and some paid— that push you along your journey to ecommerce success.
Here’s a quick list of additional Shopify tools you’ll have access to when you host a store on their platform:
Did you know you can create email campaigns right on Shopify? Shopify Email gives you all the tools to track and create beautiful and captivating ecommerce campaigns that drive sales and keep your core customers engaged.
You can pick from a list of ready-for-you designs and get email analytics straight to your Shopify dashboard. You can add your logo and store colors for a more personalized email experience as well as segment the people on your list for more specific campaigns.
The Shopify Email feature is accessible on every Shopify plan. You get a monthly send limit of 2,500 free emails, then $1 for every 1,000 additional emails sent. Not bad at all if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of integrating a third-party email provider with your store that can end up costing you more in the long run.
You can easily buy a custom domain with Shopify if you don’t want to buy it through a third party. Domain names through Shopify start at $14 a year and automatically renew each year.
This is a great option if you don’t want the name “.myshopify.com” as part of your domain name.
The perks of Shopify don’t end in the online world. With their point-of-sale option, you can connect POS software, hardware, and Shopify’s payment system to sell in person at popups, retail events, and more.
Once you set up POS in your online store, you can purchase Shopify card reader and payment equipment to instantly start selling.
Their most popular POS equipment for sale includes
But it doesn’t stop there. Shopify’s selection of POS equipment goes beyond the basics to ensure you have everything you need to sell in person without any payment issues. It’s because of well-thought-out integrated features like these that Shopify takes the crown as one of if not the most prominent and reliable ecommerce platforms.
The Best Ecommerce Platforms
Choosing the best ecommerce platform to create your store and drive sales can be overwhelming. Make sure you look through my top list of ecommerce platform recommendations to be sure you’ll have all the tools and features you need.
All in all, Shopify offers a reliable ecommerce platform with the tools and features to ensure you’re running a smooth operation whether you’re an up-and-coming store or you need to manage millions in sales. Because of how easy it is to use, along with the tools it provides and its price points Shopify comes in as one of my top recommendations for starting a store in any niche.
Try Shopify free for 14-days and get started building your store.
Becoming a third-party seller isn’t the only way to make money on Amazon.
What if I told you there’s a way to get rid of the bulk of your seller admin and focus solely on helping a single customer who will sell your products for you?
Well, that’s what you can expect from Amazon’s Vendor Central.
We’ll take a deep dive into the platform and discuss:
Let’s get started!
Vendor Central is an invite-only platform where you can sell directly to Amazon as a supplier. It’s similar to Seller Central, where vendors can manage their purchase orders and product data from one central hub.
If you get an invite and sign up, the process works like this:
It’s a good option for businesses who don’t want to deal with selling directly to customers. However, the platform does have its challenges that you’ll need to consider when seeing if Vendor Central is a good fit.
The main difference between Amazon’s Vendor and Seller Central platforms is: who is selling the product.
With Vendor Central, you are selling to Amazon directly, and they are reselling your goods.
With Seller Central, you sell directly to Amazon users.
Here is a more detailed comparison between the two accounts:
Before you sign up, consider the pros and cons to see if joining will positively or negatively affect your business.
Here are some of the advantages of joining the Amazon Vendor Central platform:
As an Amazon Vendor, the customer will feel more confident in purchasing the product. You get the benefit of Amazon brand name recognition, which instills trust and makes it easier to close the sale.
While Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is available on Seller Central, you’ll have access to more features as a vendor. It will allow you to create even stronger ad campaigns and drive traffic to your product pages.
As a Seller, you’re responsible for things like fulfilling direct customer orders, tax liabilities, lost inventory, and other business costs.
When you supply Amazon, your business model is simplified. All you need to focus on is fulfilling your purchase orders and billing Amazon. All of the other admin responsibilities fall away, and you don’t need to worry about servicing multiple buyers.
Amazon Vendors have the option to participate in programs like Subscribe & Save and Amazon Vine. Access to these programs can help boost reviews, your placement in organic search, and lead to more sales.
Here are some of the disadvantages of joining the Amazon Vendor Central platform:
Vendors do not have control over the price of the items. Amazon can adjust the pricing at any time, which could cost you additional revenue if margins are changed.
If you fail to meet Amazon’s specific logistical guidelines, it can quickly eat into your profits. For example, you need to maintain your stock levels and quickly fulfill your orders.
When you become a vendor, your products are shipped to customers in a standard brown Amazon box. You lose control over your brand and the ability to personalize the buyer experience.
While it’s great to have Amazon as a buyer, it comes with a big business risk if they’re your only customer. If you’re reliant on a single buyer, you could find yourself in trouble if Amazon stops using you as a vendor.
As you can see from the pros and cons of joining the platform, Vendor Central is not a good fit for everyone. It’s a much better option for manufacturers and wholesalers who want logistics, support, and returns handled by Amazon.
Becoming an Amazon Vendor isn’t as easy as setting up an account with Seller Central.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s an invitation-only platform. You can’t simply apply; you need an invite from Amazon first.
How do you get one?
Amazon has a global vendor recruitment team that searches for new brands and products to sell.
Generally, these recruiters look for:
If Amazon is interested in what you’re selling, you’ll get an email inviting you to join Vendor Central. The team will explain how the process works and the terms of business.
Once you agree to the terms, you’ll get access to a Vendor Central account, and you can start supplying Amazon directly.
Don’t rely on Amazon to do all the heavy lifting. Here are five things you can start doing today to boost your conversion rates and discoverability as a vendor.
Want to increase your sales? Make sure your items are eligible for Amazon Prime.
Prime members are loyal Amazon shoppers who pay $119 annually to access a slew of benefits, including faster shipping.
When you ensure your product is Prime-eligible, you’re opening yourself up to a pool of 126 million U.S. shoppers who are ready to shop more than an average Amazon user.
Don’t believe me? Prime members spend an average of $1,400 per year, while non-members spend $600.
With 4,000 sales made every minute on Amazon, how do you stand out and get some for your business?
By mastering the SEO for Amazon’s A9 algorithm.
Like other search engines, you can use basic SEO techniques to get your products to the top of search results.
To do this, you want to include search terms in the:
By taking the time to optimize your listings, you’re maximizing your products’ visibility and increasing your chances of a sale.
Reviews are the lifeblood of Amazon. The more 5-star ratings you have, the more the algorithm will recommend your product to potential customers.
Humans are also a bit like lemmings.
If we see a group of people raving about how great a product is, we are far more likely to make the purchase. It reinforces we are making a good decision, and we feel more confident the product will work.
In fact, 88 percent of customers say they rely on online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
In fact, 56 percent of customers will at least read four reviews before making a purchase.
It might take a while for all your SEO work and reviews to kick things off. While you wait, generate traffic to your product pages by advertising outside of Amazon.
Some of the ways you can drum up demand include:
Sponsored Product Ads are an excellent way to increase conversion rates and boost your product discoverability in organic search results.
You can set up automatic (great for PPC beginners!) and manual product ads in Seller Central.
How effective are these ads? On average SPAs have a conversion rate of about 10 percent.
Here are some of the ways you can gauge your success on the platform:
Set aside time each month to identify new keyword opportunities for your products and touch base with how you’re performing in the algorithm.
If you’ve noticed you have gone up or down in rankings, identify the cause to replicate it or adjust your strategy.
If you choose to create campaigns for your listings, use the results to create more powerful listings.
For example, you might find keywords from advertising reports that you’re not using. Add those to your existing campaigns and track if it improves your click-throughs and sales.
Here are some of the best ways to increase reviews for your listings as an Amazon Vendor:
One of the best and fastest ways to get reviews is with Amazon Vine. The program is open to sellers who have fewer than 30 reviews and an eligible ASIN.
What is an ASIN? It stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. It’s a unique string of letters and numbers which is used for product identification in their catalog.
The vine program works like this:
You’ll send 30 products to 30 Vine Voices for free. These reviewers are hand-picked by Amazon for the program and are chosen for writing accurate and insightful reviews.
Once the reviewers receive your product, they’ll try it out, and write a review.
Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program is a good option for new sellers who have products with less than five reviews.
The platform incentivizes shoppers by offering a $1-$3 gift card in exchange for a review on a new product.
To enroll in the program, you’ll need to pay $60 per SKU. An SKU is a stock-keeping unit. It’s an identification code given to products and stores on Amazon.
Luckily, you aren’t charged until you receive your first review.
When you click the button, the customer is notified that you would like to hear their feedback.
Now, you’re probably thinking: “Does this ‘Request a Review’ feature actually work?”
In short, yes. According to Jungle Scout, within the first week of the feature’s launch, sellers who used the button saw a 94.7% increase in reviews.
Amazon Vendor Central is a great option if your business is the right fit. If you need help tweaking your account, I have a free Amazon training with checklists, tips, and a profitability calculator.
Feel like you need more help? Let us help you manage your Amazon Ad campaigns and stop wasting money on ads that aren’t bringing in more sales.
Do you think Amazon Vendor Central is the right fit for you?
Whether you’re a retailer, salesperson, or creative: Social proof is everything. If you expect anyone to buy anything from you, you’ll need to show them that other people trust you and have had a good experience with your business.
One popular way to do this has been with Google Trusted Stores. The platform offers Google’s seal of approval to your business while also providing customers with purchase protection for their own security. Let’s look at the program and how it could help you.
Google offers a free certification for businesses that provide users with a consistently high-quality shopping experience.
If your store can meet the requirements, you will receive a trust badge on your website displaying your total star rating. This kind of social proof is powerful, and when potential customers see that badge, they’ll know that you’re a trusted vendor.
Google has changed the platform from what it’s known as “Google Trusted Stores” to what they now call “Google Customer Reviews.” This platform is a bit different because you’ll no longer get a badge displayed in the search results, and Google doesn’t offer customer purchase protection anymore.
When asked why Google made the decision, they stated:
We’ve made this change to help us better focus our support on getting you quality reviews and seller ratings, the two major keys to driving more traffic to your site.
Reviews and seller ratings are important, so this could be a good change. The Google Trusted Stores program never focused on that as it was more of a “pass-or-fail” situation. Now, Google is assisting you by reaching out to your customers prompting them to give you a review and rating.
It gets a little confusing to differentiate between Google Trusted Stores and Google Customer Reviews. Let’s try to clear things up so you understand the differences between Google Trusted Stores and Google Customer Reviews.
Google Trusted Stores offered purchase protection, seller ratings, customer reviews on-site, program badges, and review extensions in the SERPs.
Google Customer Reviews offers seller ratings on Google, customer reviews on-site, and program badges.
You’re losing the purchase protection and review extensions. Google does offer something in place of the review extensions, though. Instead of having a badge on your ads, you can display the number of reviews and your overall star rating. I’ll explain how you can access this in the next section.
If you’re already part of the program, you won’t have to do anything to migrate to the Google Customer Reviews. If you’ve never signed up before and are inquiring about it for the first time, here are the steps to follow.
First, you’ll go to the Google Merchant Center. If you already have an account, you can log in, but if you don’t, I’ll walk you through the steps. The whole process shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes.
Once you click “sign up,” you’ll be brought to the page below.
You’ll create your account with all your business details and upload your products, which will then be displayed all over Google, shopping ads, and local ads. Enter your business name, country, and time zone. Once you do that, a new section will pop up underneath.
This is where you’ll choose what action you want people to take and how you want Google to manage your advertisement. You can send traffic from the ad directly to your website, have customers add items to their cart directly on Google, or advertise a brick-and-mortar store with directions.
For example, I chose to have customers purchase on my website.
Once you reach the next page, you’ll have to input some more company information. You can set up sales tax, input shipping methods and fees, including your website, and upload product data.
When you think you have everything you need to upload, you can confirm it and activate your free listing.
You’ll end up on this page once you’ve activated your free listing or skipped past that process.
We want to enable Google Customer Reviews now. You can do this by scrolling down and finding this box. Click “enable,” read through the agreement, and click save and continue.
To qualify, your store needs to have its shopping cart and checkout pages hosted on the same domain, the confirmation page must be hosted on your domain, and you need to add <!DOCTYPE HTML> to the top of every page.
You’ll then have to verify your account using the Google Trusted Store requirements and paste the reviews opt-in code on your website.
Once Google has determined you worthy of the title, they’ll then prompt visitors to provide feedback on your store every time they purchase something. You’ll also be able to display the Google Customer Reviews badge on your website.
The evaluation process takes between 60 to 90 days so it’s not something that will happen overnight, but it’s a great way to increase social proof, ensure customers trust you, and drive more traffic by getting more reviews quicker.
What’s the big deal with the Google Trusted Stores program and why should you make this a priority for your business? It’s the same reason why we trust certain vendors over others. If you own a store that makes custom mugs, chances are you have “preferred vendors” that you buy from over and over again.
Why do you do this?
You do it because you trust them. Having that seal of approval from Google can do a lot for your reputation, and anyone who understands the program knows that you need to meet Google’s requirements to join.
We do so many things in our stores to ensure that people trust us. We include badges, testimonials, and trust symbols. Customers realize that Google isn’t the one giving you the reviews; it’s other customers. When is the last time you bought something from an unfamiliar business without checking the reviews first?
Positive reviews are the best form of social proof because it shows new customers that other people like what you’re selling and they trust buying it from you. This is especially important with new businesses.
Once you get the badge, you can then display your seller ratings with your shopping posts and ads. As customers are scrolling through the many available options, they’ll see that your product has a 4.8 out of 5 and will likely buy it because you have a close-to-perfect rating and a better rating than your competitors.
Best of all, you’ll get a certified shop tag if you decide to advertise with Google as well. This helps separate you from the stores that weren’t willing to go the extra mile and sign up for the program.
At one time, the benefits of shopping with Google Trusted Stores were very clear. Now, it’s a bit more of a gray area since Google moved to the customer-reviews platform.
Google initially offered customer protection whenever they shopped from a trusted store. If the customer failed to receive the item, was billed incorrectly, or didn’t receive the item in a timely manner, Google would intervene and help provide a solution.
It appears that this proved to be a bit difficult for Google to manage, and that was likely the main reason they switched to the new platform.
That said, customers still receive many benefits from using the Google Trusted Stores platform even in its new form.
Customers who shop from these stores know that they have many positive reviews from the experience the businesses provide. By researching, reading reviews, and understanding where to shop, users have a higher chance of receiving the products they purchased in a timely manner.
Although customers may not receive purchase protection, buying from a reputable store should almost always result in a good experience because the retailer wants that reputation to remain. Plus customers will have the opportunity to fill out a survey if they did have a bad experience.
Since the switch to trusted reviews, Google no longer offers a badge on AdWords campaigns. What they do offer is pretty powerful, though.
You may remember a time when Google input some of your short, positive reviews at the bottom of your AdWords ad. This was a great way to provide potential traffic with a quick burst of social proof.
However, what they replaced it with is just as good, if not better. Now your campaigns will display results similar to the one below.
Instead of a single review, you’ll get a star rating, the number of ratings, and a qualifier like average delivery time. There are some requirements to gain this status, though:
All of this is made possible through the customer reviews platform. As people are purchasing from you and leaving reviews, you’re building this portfolio to increase your chances of getting the ad extension.
Google always has consequences for everything, right? The same holds true for the Google Trusted Stores program. If you’re a store owner and are concerned about your ability to honor the policies, you might want to get some systems in place to be ready.
Each time someone purchases something from you, they’ll be invited to fill out a survey explaining how the process went. Furthermore, they’ll have additional opportunities to provide feedback to Google on how shipping went and how the product is when they receive it.
If at any point the customer is dissatisfied with the service and they provide feedback on that, you’ll receive that information. If you regularly receive negative feedback, not only will it hurt your ratings but it could result in you getting removed from the program as well.
Google will still stand by and make sure that you’re honoring the requests of your customers. Even though they don’t offer customer purchase protection anymore, they’re still invested in assuring that customers receive the best possible experience on Google.
If you’re trying to get more attention to your store, there are a variety of resources that can help you with that, including my agency. Whether you’ve been involved in the Google Trusted Stores program for years or are just getting started, social proof is powerful.
You can never have too much of that, and Google will ensure that the businesses offering the best experience get pushed to the front of the line.
Do you prefer Google Customer Reviews over Google Trusted Stores? Explain why in the comments.
Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
You want people to trust your site and that requires a valid secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate.
SSL certificates are issued by a certificate authority (CA) and they build trust in two important ways:
Today, all of the popular browsers like Google Chrome will warn users anytime they attempt to visit a site without an SSL certificate. It’ll say something like “This site is not secure,” or “Any information you share may be vulnerable to attackers.”
It’s not great for business, to put it lightly.
Would-be visitors are going to head to a different site where they feel comfortable entering their credit number. I know I would.
There are a lot of different CAs to choose from and they sell a range of SSL certificates designed to help companies establish their online identity and protect their customer’s privacy.
For some people, going with a free SSL certificate is going to be perfectly safe to use. All that’s required is a quick demonstration that you control a particular domain. These are known as DV (domain validated) SSL certificates.
For companies that need to establish a greater level of trust, OV (organization validated) or EV (extended validation) SSL certificates involve real-world background checks on the organization making the request.
The rigorous authentication process isn’t free, but it conveys a much higher level of trust.
Paid SSL certificate providers also make the process of obtaining and renewing certificates much easier through an intuitive online platform.
So, how do you choose the best SSL certificate provider?
It can seem tricky at first, given that they are all selling the same essential service. There are important differences, though, and you want to figure them out before you decide.
In this post, I’ve reviewed the top SSL certificate providers. These are big names with a long history of protecting websites. The reviews are followed by a short guide that will help you make sense of your options and ask the right questions moving forward.
SSL.com is perfectly suited for small and growing businesses that need to secure their sites, but can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars a year.
They are a nice, mid-range product which works for companies that have outgrown their ability to use entirely free SSL certificates, but don’t have especially complex security needs that justify the premium pricing of DigiCert or GlobalSign.
The best part about the budget prices is that the level of encryption is the same as you get with much more expensive SSL certificates.
You might think that the downside would be lower-quality customer service, but nothing could be further from the truth.
SSL.com offers 24/7 chat, email, and phone support. In review after review, happy customers have thanked their SSL.com customer service agent for walking them through installing their first SSL certificate or helping them handle a complex issue.
I think SSL.com has struck a good balance between price and customer service. It’s not dirt cheap, by any means, but it’s certainly less expensive than some of the premium—dare I say, enterprise-only—SSL certificate providers like Digicert and GlobalSign.
In addition to affordable pricing, SSL.com offers a range of certificates flexible enough to accommodate the needs of many different businesses:
Like other SSL certificate providers, you have to sign a longer contract to get the lowest price. With SSL.com, however, the single-year pricing still comes in lower than competitors.
As you can see above, SSL.com has really low rates for wildcard and Subject Alternative Name (SAN) certificates. This can save a ton of money and streamline certificate management.
Wildcard certificates cover an unlimited number of subdomains. Instead of buying, installing, and renewing a separate certificate for neilpatel.com, info.neilpatel.com, and so on, I just need one Wildcard.
SAN Certificates protect multiple domains. The exact number depends on the SSL certificate provider. More domains covered with fewer certificates will make your life much easier.
Just for comparison, GlobalSign’s EV SSL certificate starts at $599 and it costs extra to add domains and subdomains from there.
With SSL.com, on the other hand, the Enterprise EV UCC/SAN SSL lets you secure up to 500 additional domains for a lot less money. And with GlobalSign, you are limited to 100 additional subdomains per SAN certificate.
Compared to Digicert, the difference is more pronounced as a multi-domain EV is nearly $3,000 per year.
If you think that SSL.com is coming in at the right price for you, give it a shot. The 30-day unconditional refund is not a marketing gimmick. If you are not happy, they will credit your account immediately. Get started now.
GlobalSign is the SSL certificate provider of choice for large organizations with complex needs. They have some of the highest rates in the industry, but also some of the happiest customers because of the quality of their service.
If you just need a couple SSL certificates, I would go with something less expensive. On the other hand, if you need a lot of certificates, and managing so many of them is starting to cause problems, then GlobalSign is a wise choice.
Its best-in-breed certificate monitoring and inventory tool, combined with heavy discounts for volume licensing, reduces the total cost of ownership for complete SSL security.
Decrease the frequency of the costly problems associated with certificate expiry, regardless of how many you have to manage. You can even set policy preferences and receive reminders when certificates aren’t compliant, regardless of who issued the certificate.
No more having to track down certificates manually. Everything is available with a quick scan.
Think about it. If your staff saves an extra couple hours each month due to GlobalSign’s intuitive platform and concierge support, then the service has already paid for itself.
I highly recommend GlobalSign for businesses that can’t play the normal waiting game to get new certificates. After GlobalSign authenticates your business, they can issue certificates virtually on-demand because they have pre-vetted all domains.
The initial authentication process is fairly quick (between three and four business days for EV). Some people have reported being able to get certificates quicker due to emergency situations simply by calling up GlobalSign.
GlobalSign offers the full range of traditional SSL certificates:
GlobalSign offers SAN SSL certificates for multiple domains at $199/year on top of the base certificate price. So, an OV SAN SSL from GlobalSign would run you $549/year. A single SAN certificate will cover up to 100 additional domains.
You can choose to add subdomains for an additional cost, as well, though a wildcard SSL certificate will be more cost effective if you need coverage for a lot.
The warranty for the GlobalSign EV tops out at $1.5 million. If your digital certificates don’t provide the protection promised, GlobalSign will foot the bill for damages.
This is half a million less than a comparable certificate from DigiCert. Ideally, you’ll never have to worry about the difference, but it’s something to be aware of.
Another nice aspect for enterprise customers is that GlobalSign supports document signing, code signing, digital signatures, and secure email. Being able to centralize all of these SSL security concerns in a single platform can make managing them much easier.
GlobalSign also offers intranet SSL for securing internal servers and applications. This means companies no longer have to run their own CA or use self-signed certificates.
For companies that provide cloud-based services, GlobalSign’s CloudSSL can help them meet the complex security requirements of these next-generation environments.
Not every company will realize the benefit from GlobalSign’s premium suite of managed SSL certificates and services. For simple websites, it’s overkill.
But for enterprises, especially companies with complex SSL security needs, going with GlobalSign is worth every penny.
Request a GlobalSign managed SSL demo today, and see the difference it makes.
Digicert Group owns a handful of the most trusted CAs (GeoTrust, RapidSSL, Thawte, and Verisign) and has become one of the largest SSL certificate providers in the world.
It’s one of the more expensive options, for sure, but Digicert includes security features with its premium SSL certificates that can make a huge difference for the right businesses.
This includes automatic malware detection across all your sites, PCI (payment card industry) compliance scans, and blocklist checks, which ensure that your site isn’t under suspicion on any government or country-specific blocklist.
Importantly, most of these features only come with Digicert’s higher-tier plans. The provider breaks down its offerings into three tiers: Basic, Secure Site, and Secure Site Pro.
You can buy different types of certificates for each tier, but I don’t recommend going with Basic. It costs a lot more than comparable protection from other SSL certificate providers and you miss out on the extra security features that make Digicert’s premium pricing a good buy.
If you need the basic domain validation that comes with Digicert Basic, I’d go with SSL.com. On the other hand, if you are running an ecommerce website where users are entering financial information, Digicert offers a high level of protection that is very appealing.
At the Secure Site tier (which comes with organization validation), pricing breaks down as follows:
All Secure Site certificates are backed by a $1.75 million Netsure Protection Warranty for your businesses, and a $2 million aggregate Relying Party Warranty for your customers.
This is one of the most comprehensive warranties out there, and this isn’t even the premium DigiCert plan.
You also get priority support, which means that Digicert agents will respond to your concerns faster than they would if you went with the Basic tier. Another good reason to avoid that.
Of course people still run into issues, but Digicert customers with priority support constantly praise the company for their responsiveness and expert advice.
The company really does walk their customers through the installation process for free. They expect you to have questions and they are ready to help.
All of this and more comes with the SecureSitePro tier:
These plans are backed by a slightly better warranty, which covers your business up to $2 million. There’s also certificate transparency log monitoring that alerts businesses whenever an unauthorized certificate is assigned to one of their domains.
In addition to priority support Secure Site Pro also includes priority validation, which cuts down the time it takes to issue new certificates.
Not every company needs the extra security, but those that do will appreciate the totality of what Digicert offers with its Site Secure Pro certificates:
All Digicert certificates are managed via CertCentral, which is remarkably easy to use. CertCentral is designed to work at scale, so it doesn’t matter how many certificates you have—it’s going to be easy to manage.
Digicert backs all of their SSL certificates with a 30-day, money-back guarantee. No questions asked, no hassles.
You want people to know, without a doubt, that your site is safe and trustworthy.
The exact range of SSL certificates and capabilities you need will depend on the type and number of websites your company operates.
Price is an important factor—especially when you look at long-term costs—but it can’t be the only thing you focus on. In a very real sense, you get what you pay for.
Some companies will be completely covered by the bargain SSL certificates. Others will be extremely grateful they went with a premium product that really delivers the security they need.
To find out which SSL certificate provider is going to work best for your specific situation, pay attention to the following X criteria as you evaluate your options.
You want to get the right type of SSL certificates for your site. Understanding the basic differences between them will help you avoid buying more than you need, or not getting enough.
There are three types of SSL certificates you’ll encounter. They vary according to validation level:
Generally speaking, different types of SSL certificates from the same provider will have the same level of encryption. It’s the authentication process that adds the extra level of trust.
The encryption that comes with DV certificates is key. But when encryption is tied to the rigorous identity check of and OV or EV certificates, it becomes much harder for bad actors to carry out phishing or man-in-the-middle attacks.
In some industries, like finance and healthcare, you may have to get an EV SSL certificate. This is just a bullet to bite. This is also true if you have a high-profile website that could be a juicy target for attackers.
Some choose to get OV or EV certificates for branding purposes. This was more important when browsers like Chrome showed a green padlock next to the site’s URL.
Google started phasing that out and now everyone gets the same gray padlock, regardless of the type of validation. Even PayPal doesn’t have a green lock in Chrome any more:
There is, of course, more information about the organization in the certificate details if you get an OV or EV, but who is checking that?
If you can avoid paying for OV or EV, I recommend doing that. Just check to make sure that it’s going to work for your industry and with any payment gateway software you use.
In terms of picking between different vendors, be sure you are making an apples-to-apples comparison.
For example, Secure Site SSL from Digicert is an OV certification, though it doesn’t say so by name, whereas a Single Domain OV certificate from Sectigo makes it more obvious.
Speaking of single domain certificates, there are two important subtypes of SSL certificates:
The exact limitations will vary from provider to provider. With GlobalSign, for example, you purchase the type of SSL certificate you want (DV, OV, or EV) and then pay an extra $199/year for every additional domain, and $99/year for each subdomain.
Alternatively, GlobalSign offers a Wildcard SSL that will secure an unlimited number of subdomains for $849/year.
If you need to secure multiple domains or lots of subdomains on a tight budget, I recommend SSL.com. They have Wildcards starting as low as $225 and SAN certificates that can secure up to 500 domains for $142/year.
One final note: it’s possible to use multiple certificate providers. Many company’s use free SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt for everything they can, and use paid SSL certificates to cover everything else.
How fast can you get the SSL certificates you need?
While DV SSL certificates can be issued more or less instantly, the OV and EV SSL certificates can take several days and possibly longer.
If you need one of these higher validation certificates badly, then definitely go with an SSL certificate provider who promises in the 1-3 day range, like DigiCert. Of course, you’ll want to check the reviews to see if they walk the walk when it comes to shipping certificates quickly.
SSL.com has some of the fastest turn-around-times, judging from reviews, so they can be a good choice if you need an SSL certificate yesterday.
For companies that develop software, Digicert and GlobalSign solve the problem of issuing certificates at the speed of DevOps.
They set up an enterprise account which lets you pre-validate domains. With Digicert and Globalsign, this is simple to manage, so you pre-validate as many domains as you think you might need, and certificates can then be issued on-demand.
One of the major benefits to going with a paid SSL certificate over a free one is that you are covered by a warranty. It’s like an insurance policy. If an incorrectly issued SSL certificate causes problems, you won’t be on the hook for making it right.
These warranties vary depending on which type of certificate you choose. DV SSL certificates are backed by warranties of around $10,000, whereas EV SSL certificates may cover more than $1 million.
DigiCert has one of the most comprehensive warranties. For their EV SSL certificate, your business is covered by a $2 million warranty and your customers are backed by a separate $2 million warranty.
Hopefully you will never need this, but if you do, it’s important to know which companies are backing you with a suitable warranty.
Whether you are purchasing a single SSL certificate or thousands a week, the quality of customer service matters a lot.
There can be a lot of steps to installing and renewing SSL certificates. It’s a little different for every host and type of server. Sometimes the “easy installation” process is going to be more difficult based on your specific hardware.
Being able to pick up the phone and talk to an expert who can walk you through the process is worth a lot. SSL.com has a great reputation, with hundreds of reviewers describing reassuring customer service throughout their first installation of an SSL certificate. The agents stay on the line, from start to finish, ensuring that everything is done right.
Let’s Encrypt is a great option for free SSL certificates, but are you saving money if it takes your paid employees several hours a month to finagle with an unfamiliar system?
This is why companies like GlobalSign and Digicert can charge a lot more for SSL certificates than others. You are paying for the on-demand, concierge customer service so that you don’t have to hire experts yourself.
If you can’t use the best free SSL certificates to protect your sites, it’s important to find the right paid option.
Much is going to depend on finding an SSL certificate provider who offers the range of certificates you need at a price that makes sense.
For companies looking for affordable SSL certificates, make SSL.com your first and only stop. On top of their excellent prices, they have a great reputation for helping their customers. If you need a Wildcard or SAN certificate, going with SSL.com could save you thousands of dollars each year.
If you only need OV or EV certificates, and you want a serious warranty to back them up, Digicert is a great choice. There’s definitely a higher price tag, but the platform comes with many additional tools to maintain top-level SSL security across all of your sites.
GlobalSign is my recommendation for enterprise customers who want a provider that helps them manage their complex SSL needs. There is no more user-friendly certificate management system out there, and you can depend on their customer service agents to be there when you need them.
There are many, many more options out there for SSL certificates. These are my top three. They have stood the test of time, helped thousands of companies keep their sites secure, and continuously evolve their technology to stay on top.
Are you hoping to sell products online, but don’t want to deal with the hassle that comes with setting up and using an e-commerce shop? If you have an e-commerce shop, do you want to streamline the process to make it easier for your customers to purchase your product?
I’m not the only one who has found success selling on Instagram by leveraging features, tools, and creating an awesome Instagram bio.
According to PewResearch Center’s 2016 Social Media Update, 32% of Internet users are using Instagram.
At least half of all Instagram users use the platform every day.
It’s worth noting that women are typically more likely to use Instagram than men are. 59% of all Instagram users are 18 to 29 years old.
If these are your target demographics and you’re not using Instagram, you’re missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime to build brand awareness. More importantly, however, you’re missing out on lots of opportunities to sell on Instagram.
Online-only businesses, brick-and-mortar brands, and companies specializing in providing a service have all found success with Instagram sales.
If you want to avoid an Instagram marketing mistake, you need to sell like the brands that use the platform to bring in some big bucks.
First, let’s look at Artifacia as an example.
Selling tools that Instagram has introduced have made Instagram’s sales potential even greater.
No matter the method you decide to use to make your posts shoppable, you need to let your followers know that your page is shoppable in the first place. You can accomplish this in several ways, but each method requires you to have a perfect Instagram bio.
This strategy can be as simple as posting a photo for your followers like Artifacia did.
The photo not only lets followers know that their page is shoppable, but it also gives instructions for customers to visit your Instagram bio page.
How can you ensure your posts and Instagram bio drive sales on Instagram? More suggestions are below.
Traditional shoppable Instagram posts require you to link back to an e-commerce store on a platform like Shopify.
However, there’s a way around that if you use WhatsApp to collect payments from followers as BK Store does. Just add your WhatsApp number to your brand’s Instagram bio and you’re done.
Instead of a regular e-commerce store, users can view products in your Instagram feed and text their payment and shipping details to buy products. It’s a popular way to create an online store without an e-commerce platform.
And better yet, Instagram is currently testing a new feature with Brazilian users that will allow you to post Instagram Stories right to your WhatsApp page.
You might be able to post product images directly into WhatsApp soon once the feature rolls out to all users.
Here’s how it will work:
It’s important to build up a gallery of your product pictures on your Instagram page. A killer gallery of images is what will help you funnel your customers.
Be sure not to use any filters, though, since they can distort your images and make your products look different than they actually are.
Studies have shown that posting pictures of real customers using your product can get you as much as 30% more engagement.
They also found that blue-dominant photos get 24% more attention than ones with a lot of red in them.
Also, make sure that your captions are detailed. Give your customers every piece of information that they would want to know in your description.
If you want to post other photos besides product images to your page but don’t want your product photos to get lost in the crowd, use a tool like Like2Buy.
A tool like Curalate could help you sell on Instagram.
Once you create a Like2Buy profile, all you have to do is add your Like2Buy link to your Instagram bio, as Nordstrom does.
This link is what will lead people to your “storefront.”
When someone clicks on it, it will send them to your gallery of product images where they can browse through the photos to shop.
All they have to do to find out how to buy a product is click on an image they’re interested in.
You can add more than one product to a single image, use user-generated content to build trust, or use fan photos.
If you upload a photo with more than one product, it will list every product on the right side of the image with corresponding numbers.
This way, you can add as many products as you want to one photo. This is especially helpful if you have a series or matching lines that you want to show off.
With Like2Buy, users will also be able to keep track of all of their likes so that they can see all of the photos and products that they have liked on Instagram under the “My Likes” tab.
That way, if they want to like a post to come back to it later and make a purchase, they don’t have to worry about scouring Instagram or Like2Buy to find it, which helps to increase sales.
You can see detailed analytics of who is viewing your posts as a seller, customize your storefront, or even add an email capture to it to gain some leads from the platform.
Nordstrom isn’t the only big brand using the platform. Forever21 and Williams Sonoma have also found success on Like2Buy.
However, if your brand is already well-established or you’re selling items that have a large payoff, this tool might be worth the cost.
On Instagram, hashtags are what users type in to search through content and discover new posts that are related to the topics they’re interested in.
If you use hashtags on product images, you’ll help users discover your post and your Instagram bio get a clear understanding of what your product is before they ever click on it.
Try to use enough hashtags to be descriptive, but don’t overdo it. Here’s how Bedcolors uses hashtags in their posts:
Speaking of product descriptions, you need to make sure to beef yours up.
It’s important to get the message across about exactly what you’re selling, but you also need to keep it interesting to attract the attention of customers.
One way to do that is to incorporate emojis into your descriptions. Everyone loves emojis, and they help to break up your words.
For example, use some seasonal emojis or add a few that directly relate to your product, like back2bareskincare.
Soldsie is a tool that lets users purchase products directly from their Instagram feeds without ever having to exit out of the app. It also works for Facebook.
Both sellers and buyers must integrate Soldsie software with their Instagram pages before they can use the “comment selling” feature.
Start off by uploading your product images and including important product information, like what colors and sizes are available.
Then, ask your followers to buy your products by commenting the word “sold” on the post and writing their desired size, color, or other selection information.
Some online retails take it a step further by adding the hashtag “#commenttoorder” to their posts.
Once buyers have commented on your post, Soldsie will send them an email with an invoice. You can then receive their payment for the product via a credit card or PayPal.
Pricing for Soldsie depends on the plan you choose. The basic package is $49 per month, and Soldsie takes a 5.9% commission on sales.
You should also chat with your buyers regularly to build trust and long-lasting relationships with them.
When followers comment on your posts with questions about your products or company, it’s obvious that you should comment back and help them out.
This increases the likelihood that they will trust you enough to make a purchase, and it ensures that you’ll have happy customers.
Providing great customer service isn’t the only goal you should have when chatting with buyers in the comments, though.
Focus on having engaging conversations with your followers like Archie McPhee.
The brand even includes products and product links that might relate to a customer’s contribution to the conversation, which is helpful for making even more sales.
This technique will make users feel like there are real people behind your brand and your Instagram page that they can interact with.
They’ll start to think of your page as more of a “friend” that they trust and follow, which means that they’ll be more comfortable trusting you with orders.
Using influencers to share posts about your company and your products is another simple way to build trust with Instagram users.
You can grow brand awareness and boost sales by partnering with influencers on Instagram.
By partnering with influential people on the platform, you can reach specific target audiences that are interested in your products and services but don’t know it yet.
Instagram influencer marketing has become a game-changer for social selling. And the payoff is enormous.
On average, brands generate $6.50 for every $1 that they spend on influencer marketing.
In the description of her video post, she gave information about the company and the product, talked about their free trial, added a tag to their Instagram bio, and used one of their branded hashtags.
At the start, NECTAR Sleep had only 11,200 followers, while Daryl-Ann had 112,000. That means that her post introduced thousands of new people to the brand.
The post gained over 10,000 views in just one day, so it was a huge success.
You can also accept payments for the products listed on your Instagram posts by using a payment gateway.
Unfortunately, you can’t share links in your Instagram pictures back to a place where users can pay for the items.
However, there are a few ways that you can accept payments on Instagram by using payment gateways. One option is Instamojo.
To get started, sign up for an account with Instamojo and follow all of the verification steps. After you have uploaded your KYC, it will take a few minutes for them to approve your account.
From there, you need to get your own payment handle. When you sign up, your @username will become your payment handle just like your Instagram handle.
Once you’ve created a payment handle/username, the link to your Instamojo profile will be www.instamojo.com/username.
Your profile page will be a product listing page where your payment links will show up with all of your photos.
Create product links by selecting the “Create a Payment link” button from your Instamojo dashboard.
Be sure to upload a profile picture and cover photo for your brand’s Instamojo page, too.
Next, share product links with your customers in direct messages.
You can reach out to all of the customers who like your Instagram post by sending them a message linking to your Instamojo page. Or, you can send links to the customers who DM you first with questions.
As soon as a user actually buys your product, you’ll receive an email confirming that they have purchased it.
From there, all you have to do is use Instapay to request a payment. Send buyers your payment handle where they can enter their payment information.
You can also request payment directly from your Instamojo dashboard. If you aren’t sure how to do this, you can read more on how to request a direct payment.
It might seem impossible to sell products online without having to set up and run an e-commerce shop. However, that’s not the case. A large chunk of Internet users are active on Instagram every day. Most of them follow at least one brand, so it’s a perfect place to find engaged buyers.
You can generate tons of sales from Instagram if you play your cards right, like the nine savvy entrepreneurs in this post.
If you want help implementing some of these strategies or would like help in other aspects of social media or content marketing, let’s talk. We are available to talk through your goals and how to reach them.
How do you make sales on Instagram?
The post How These 9 Savvy Entrepreneurs Sell on Instagram Without an E-commerce Shop appeared first on Neil Patel.
As an e-commerce seller, your business depends on your relationship with search engines.
Search engines are one of the first stops potential buyers make before purchasing an item. When your store is invisible to search engines, you simply don’t exist to the vast majority of your audience.
It’s a concerning thought and one reason e-commerce sellers spend so much time fixing and maintaining their on-site SEO.
Of course, understanding your platform is critical if you expect to stand out. If you’re serious about gaining that SEO edge, you need to know how search engines interact with your platform.
This article explores how Bonanza works and shows you how to drive traffic to your store from search engines.
As a platform for e-commerce sellers, Bonanza exists as a marketplace for all kinds of products.
The sheer variety of products you can sell on Bonanza is impressive. Bonanza lets merchants sell art, books, coins, jewelry, and everything in between.
Bonanza functions similarly to many other e-commerce platforms. Sellers pay fees on both the price of the goods sold and the shipping fees associated with that purchase. However, you don’t pay unless your items sell—there are no listing fees or subscription costs.
You can advertise on the platform, but for our purposes, we’re going to focus on how to drive organic traffic to your business using SEO.
To increase views on Bonanza, you need to provide customers with the most relevant information at the right time. Let’s look at how to optimize your Bonanza listings to drive organic traffic.
As with all types of SEO, effective keyword usage is paramount when optimizing for Bonanza. But, before you can use keywords in your title and listing, you need to figure out what your keywords are.
Google Keyword Planner is a fantastic tool for testing the strength of specific key terms and phrases that you’re considering for your content.
Let’s say your e-commerce store revolves around hiking. The word “hiking” itself might be a perfect fit for your content, but this presents a few problems.
The biggest issue here is hundreds, if not thousands, of other merchants selling hiking equipment on Bonanza. There’s little chance your content will stand out to either the algorithm or potential buyers based on that term alone.
Instead of using a broad keyword like “hiking,” you can use a strong keyword phrase that accurately describes your product. Suddenly, you’ve narrowed down your audience significantly.
Your audience is no longer anyone who types in “hiking” in a search engine.
You sell hiking boots to people actively looking for sales. By narrowing your focus to keywords related to that, you’re telling search engines your site is useful to a particular group of buyers. The more specific the solution, the more likely these search engines are to recommend it.
Don’t just look for keywords with high search volumes—seek out phrases that naturally fit into your site and signal genuine value.
By the way, if you’re looking for more in-depth keyword analysis, you can use my Ubersuggest tool for free here.
Discussions on SEO tend to revolve purely around the text. But, believing search engines only look at the text on your site would be a serious mistake.
The images on your site send data to search engine algorithms and can signal a higher quality experience for users.
Remember, search engines are in the business of having the right answer. When your business becomes the best possible fit for a potential buyer, search engines may give you the spotlight.
Image quality is essential. Take clear, well-lit pictures of your items with backgrounds that don’t distract. Use multiple images from different angles so your audience can fully see what they’re considering purchasing.
After you’ve taken your photos, change the file names to match your content. If you used a picture of a national park for your hiking store, don’t just call it DMG_33223.jpg. Change its name to something appropriate and relevant, such as hiking_boot_brand_style_name.
Make sure your image dimensions match the image size as displayed. This can impact load times for your site, which can have a dramatic effect on your on-site SEO.
Additionally, use the right format for your visual content. If you want to preserve background transparency, use PNG. Logos and icons should use SVG. For larger photos, use JPEG. This option preserves the image’s colors and clarity while taking up less storage space.
Speaking of which, reduce the file size of your images! If you’ve ever wondered why your pictures take so long to load, this is likely the culprit. Slow load times mean less attention from search engines.
Images also have alt text (or alt tag). Essentially, this is the information conveyed to users who can’t see pictures. Whether they’ve disabled images or they’re using a screen reader due to a visual impairment, alt text helps provide information on that image.
Search engines use alt text to vet the quality of a site. This means if you don’t have alt text (or you do, but it’s nonsensical), you’re probably missing out on free traffic.
When shopping online, you likely see a lot of products with titles that are a list of keywords rather than a clear title like you’d use on, say, a blog post. This isn’t the way to go.
I’ve found a simple way to help e-commerce sellers understand the value of item titles.
Think about your store from a search engine’s perspective. Your site description is pretty similar to an article or blog post as far as they’re concerned. Search engine algorithms see everything as content, and they want to provide positive experiences for users.
If you created a blog post on hiking titled “hiking positives why you should hike how to like hiking,” would a search engine find that valuable? Of course not. You’d probably title that post something like “Making the Most of Hiking” or “The Awesomeness of Hiking.”
For articles and blogs, you likely already take the time to build compelling, relevant, engaging content regularly because you know how valuable it is to both a search engine and your audience.
Do the same for your store listings—research using the Keyword Planner. Run a competitor analysis and see which titles excel and which are failing.
Above all, your item title and product descriptions need to be helpful. When they’re helpful, they’re valuable— and when you’re valuable, search engines are more willing to pay attention.
It’s also worth noting paying attention to the differences in the buying cycle. Online shoppers with low buyer awareness need lots of convincing. For example, a buyer that searches for “hiking boots” may still be researching their options and not yet ready to buy, while someone who searches for “Women’s Newton Ridge Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot” is likely ready to buy.
If they aren’t familiar with your product, you’ll need to focus on education first.
Start with key features, product usage, and brand guarantees. This makes your product copy both user-friendly and valuable.
Now that we’ve established that product descriptions function like any other piece of content, it’s time we broke down how to craft a valuable description.
Start with product features. From an SEO perspective, potential buyers are searching for perks and features when they use search engines.
After all, they aren’t just looking for “boots.” They’re looking for “high-quality, comfortable boots.”
The mistake some sellers make is assuming the list of features is enough. That list is just one piece of the puzzle. What makes a product description stand out to a search engine’s algorithm is contextually appropriate copy.
These aren’t just high-quality, comfortable boots. They’re boots that stand up to the harshest of winters. They’re boots you can wear for hours on end. Maybe they are waterproof.
While Bonanza allows you to fill out boxes with item traits and listing details, they also give you space to write out a description. Provide details you couldn’t give in the boxes.
For instance, you can put the boots’ size and material in the traits, but you can’t tell them the heel height. Put that type of information in your written description.
When you create a clear picture of the experience with a particular product, you bring a high level of authenticity to the shopping experience.
If your content checks some of the keyword boxes but isn’t valuable, your site won’t get organic traffic for long.
One of the most frustrating challenges you’ll deal with as an e-commerce seller is being unable to innovate. As a business owner, you want every business-building tool at your disposal. Which brings up the question: at what point do you start to expand your marketing efforts?
After all, you don’t just want to beat your competitors by a small margin. You want to dominate your e-commerce space and have your site on the first page of a user’s search engine results.
Commit to creating a blog for your site. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be value-driven.
You could use a free option like WordPress.com and write two articles a week on topics your audience cares about—and link to relevant items in your Bonanza store. You’ll have over 100 articles in a year, all linking to your Bonanza store, which shows search engines a series of healthy links to your store.
More high-quality links mean validation, plus there’s the added perk of adding another layer to your marketing funnel.
You can even use this content to collect email addresses for your newsletter. Use that to drive repeat business, and before you know it, you’ve built a truly profitable ecosystem.
SEO is just as crucial for e-commerce stores like Bonanza as it is for other types of content. Without solid SEO for your store, consumers probably won’t find your products.
Understand what users need from their search experience. Take the time to create a user-friendly product page. Offer engaging content and create a store that puts the customers’ needs first.
You’ll never be able to “trick” search engines. But with enough patience and hard work, you can get search engines to work for you and drive traffic to your Bonanza store.
How have you found success on Bonanza?