Retailers searching for consumer ‘love’ on Facebook

True love needs deeper understanding
Like many love stories, retailers’ search for the “affection” Facebook consumers has gone through some rocky patches, only to emerge stronger and more mature.

Retailers often fail to recognize that Facebook is a peer-to-peer communication channel which needs a consumer-to-consumer strategy rather than a business-to-consumer brand-push. A newsfeed is private space for users, and crowding it with branded content can be seen as a nuisance by those users and can actually harm your brand. Instead retailers should be focusing on maximizing consumer-to-consumer communication and the viral spread of their brand on Facebook. They need real fans on Facebook who are passionate about the brand, can become brand ambassadors, and spread the brand message via word-of-mouth.

Real fans love your brand
For real love from Facebook, retailers should find their fans not on Facebook but on their own sites. Users are most interested in your brand when they are on your website. Their purchase intent is highest and their attention towards your brand is at its peak, making it the most opportune time to convert them into Facebook fans. Social needs to be applied in the right context of commerce to convert website visitors into real passionate Facebook fans. That will move the relationship of Facebook and retailers from “it’s complicated” to “engaged”!

Relationship status: Engaged
An onsite fan acquisition tool is needed to weave this magic of converting users into genuine fans for your brand.

ShopSocially’s Get-a-Fan app has been the fan-acquisition tool of choice for many brands, and has now been added to the Yahoo Commerce Central app gallery. It offers a simple slider which can be embedded on your site in 2 minutes by inserting a couple of lines of code. Users can be incentivized to become Facebook fans through social couponing.

Get-a-Fan app offers discount coupons on the slider itself, helping keep users on your website. The app also allows users to email the coupon to themselves and opt-in to become email subscribers in the process. Users now feel they have “earned” the coupon by doing a social action of Like, and they convert at a 5-7 times higher rate.

Case Study: Fabness USA gets 33.28% sales conversion rate from genuine Facebook fans

Leading creative canvas designer, Fabness USA used Get-a-Fan app to convert website visitors into their Facebook fans. Using the incentivized Like-gate from the app, Fabness rewarded the site visitors with a $10 coupon for Liking Fabness on Facebook. The coupon was delivered in-line and immediately – pushing shoppers into becoming paying customers. The result was acquisition of more than 15,000 Facebook fans who converted at a rate of 33.28%. Also, 1 out of 3 new fans opted in to become a qualified email subscriber.


This is a guest post by ShopSocially — a social commerce platform app which is now part of the Yahoo Commerce Central app gallery. ShopSocially offers ROI-focused onsite social commerce modules that can drive meaningful uplift in sales conversion and revenue for internet retailers. Visit Commerce Central to learn more.

Yahoo Live Store badge uses performance data to surface awards and build shopper trust

By Rajat Mukherjee, Head of Ecommerce, Yahoo Small Business

Today, we are announcing the Yahoo Live Store badge program, which is a new way for eligible online merchants to showcase their achievements, inspire shopper confidence, and promote their most popular products with dynamic badges they can post to their website.

Live Store badges are driven by powerful analytics built into the Live Web Insights platform. Real-time data from tens of thousands of eligible sites across more than 30 store categories allows us to determine which stores are the top performing with respect to repeat visitors, quickest time to checkout, engagement, and more. Using this data, we’ve created a set of awards that merchants — both large and small — can highlight to potential customers. The current awards include: Engaged Visitors, Loyal Following, Top Destination, Pro Seller, Easy Shopping, and Secure Checkout (available to all Yahoo stores).

The trust-building badge appears on the lower-corner of the merchant site, and when a visitor hovers over the badge, the panel expands to reveal more information about the store.

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[Yahoo Live Store badge]

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[Yahoo Live Store badge with user interaction]

In addition to awards, the Live Store badge highlights top-selling products from the online store. This feature can help drive better discovery of popular items that consumers want.

Want to make sure Live Store Badge appears on your store?  Yahoo and non-Yahoo merchants with Live Web Insights installed can easily incorporate the Live Store badge into their page design with one-click. Since some awards may be calculated within store categories, you should update your store category in the Live Web Insights store settings. Log in to Live Web Insights — or sign up for free — today!

PlaceFull app powers real-time online bookings

How many bookings did your business get last night while you were sleeping or over the recent holiday weekend?

If you don’t have an online booking solution, probably zero. And that’s a shame, because over 35% of all bookings occur after normal business hours with the peak booking time being at 5:30 p.m., according to PlaceFull, an online booking solution for small businesses owners that has recently been added to the Yahoo Commerce Central app gallery. 

Consumers are embracing technology and are completing more and more tasks online, when and how it’s convenient for them. In fact, 20% of bookings coming in through PlaceFull are being made by customers using a tablet device. But if you don’t have a flexible online booking solution like PlaceFull, a customer that is ready to book (and give you their money), may end up on your competitor’s website.

PlaceFull can help make sure that doesn’t happen and can help grow your business by publishing real-time listings on your website, the PlaceFull marketplace and even your Facebook page.

To learn more, check out PlaceFull on Yahoo Commerce Central today.

New app links SMBs with direct lender focused on small biz

America needs small businesses to grow its economy, yet small businesses need capital to grow. 98% of U.S. small businesses have annual sales of less than $2 million, and are largely ignored by banks because they are perceived as too risky to lend to, or too small to profitably service.

Traditional bank loans aren’t solving the issue — the average small business loan approval rate is less than 5% and the Small Business Administration approves less than 10%. The problem SMBs face then is where can they get affordable, responsible, short term financing. 

Compounding that is the fact that most SMB loan applications require extensive paperwork, including tax returns, financial projections, and even personal collateral in the form of a mortgage, automobile title, or life insurance policy. The process is time consuming and exhaustive — only for the vast majority of applications to be denied at the end.

With statistics like that, how can SMBs get financing they need to grow their businesses?

ForwardLine, a short-term business lender approves more than 50% of all applicants at a rate lower than their competitors — they say “yes” in cases where others say “no”.

ForwardLine is a direct lender and is now part of Yahoo Commerce Central’s gallery of small business apps and services.

Unlike banks, ForwardLine provides short-term business loans based upon credit card sales, rather than personal collateral. This means that the mountains of paperwork banks and the SBA make small businesses complete is streamlined down to a short, two page application. Approval can take place the same day, and the funds can be in your account in three business days.

Learn more about ForwardLine on Yahoo Commerce Central today, and get the cash you need to grow your business.

— Guest blog provided by ForwardLine

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Live video chat & co-browsing app added to Yahoo Commerce Central

VeriShow, a live personal engagement solution has recently been added to Yahoo! Commerce Central. The app allows merchants to plug the solution into many popular ecommerce platforms, including Amazon Webstore, Shopify. and 3dCart.

Verishow adds a “Live Help” button to the site that customers can click  to get live assistance from an agent.

The agent can use text, audio and video chat to communicate with the customer. In addition, the agent can use a unique set of tools to share product content (documents, images, videos) with the customer in real-time or let the customer share content, such as a scanned ID.

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Personal engagement with video chat as provided by VeriShow can significantly improve customer-agent interaction, as non-verbal communication counts for a large percentage of communication.

 Other features within VeriShow allow real-time co-browsing of the website pages, for example to assist a customer with checking out, or complete a PDF form with the customer in real-time

The platform can be used to improve customer service or to increase revenue by allowing effective personal engagement that is similar to real-life interaction.

Some of VeriShow’s main features:
• Live text chat
• 1 or 2-way audio or video chat
• Real-time website co-browsing
• Agent screen sharing
• Real-time content sharing and transfer from agent or customer
• Form completion
• Monitoring of website visitors

To learn more or try the app free for 14 days, visit the VeriShow page on Yahoo Commerce Central.

Introducing the Yahoo Live Web Insights Mobile App for Small Business Owners On-the-Go

Today, we’re introducing Yahoo Live Web Insights, a free new mobile app for iPhone that lets small business owners manage their websites on the go—anytime, anywhere. And it’s not just for existing Yahoo Small Business customers—anyone can use the app to get connected to his or her online business.

As a small business owner, we know you’re not sitting at your desk all day. You’re wearing many hats, running all over town, and tackling the most urgent tasks. With the new app, no matter where all this may take you, you’ll keep your finger on the pulse of your business.

You can view customers on your website, the pages they’re browsing, and products they’re viewing and buying. You can even chat with your customers through the app to answer questions and provide recommendations. By viewing how customers interact with your website and products, you’ll get more insight into how your site is being used, which can help you increase conversions.

Yahoo Live Web Insights for iPhone and iPod Touch also gives you access to additional services and marketing tools through Yahoo Commerce Central that can help you find new customers, increase sales, and help you grow your store or local business.

Check it out in the Apple App Store and get started growing your business today!

- Rajat Mukherjee, Head of Ecommerce, Yahoo Small Business

Product Listing Ads on the Rise

If you’re an online retailer and are not using Product Listing Ads (PLAs), you may be missing out on a valuable opportunity for new traffic and sales.  In 2013, the online retail industry spent record levels on PLAs and saw great returns. With numerous reports and case studies of successful performance, this is an area you should definitely explore.

Let’s take Google PLAs as an example. Besides gaining exposure on the Google Shopping network, your ads are also displayed within Google search results. Data shows that PLAs tend to have higher click-through rates and a lower cost-per-click. If that isn’t enough, according to marketing reports by independent sources* for the holiday season of 2013:

  • Retailers last year achieved a return of $8.84 for every dollar spent.
  • PLAs saw a 27% higher click-through rate compared to traditional text ads.
  • PLAs accounted for 42% of Google traffic that excludes branded keywords.
  • Retailers spent 138% more year over year on PLAs.

A number of Yahoo merchants have experienced success with PLAs and in some instances, have seen greater ROI than with other high-performing advertising channels like Retargeting. For one family-owned footwear retailer, Google PLAs drive 17% of their site traffic, 28% of revenue and earn $19 in revenue for every $1 spent!

Whether you plan to directly manage your PLA campaign on Google or Bing or take advantage of a PLA management tool like Yahoo’s Google Shopping app, we advise small businesses and online stores to try PLAs and test their inherent benefits.

SPECIAL OFFER: Unlock the benefits of Product Listing Ads with Google Shopping app by Yahoo, the easiest way to automatically manage PLAs and feeds. For the month of March, new sign-ups receive $50 worth of advertising credit!

*Sources: Digital Marketing Report & 2013 Global Shopping Report