linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!
also of interest...
  Dimitri Onistsuk Jumpstart E-Commerce Sales with Five Easy Tips
by Dimitri Onistsuk
June 25, 2010

When the e-commerce model exploded onto the market, the ability for small businesses to open their doors to the world 24/7 revolutionized the retail industry. While that remains true to this day, the proliferation e-commerce demands that online retailers go above and beyond to stand out from the crowd. Beyond rock bottom pricing, there are several easy ways online retailers—both startups and established stores—can jumpstart their e-commerce sales.


1. Put your best face forward with a top-notch storefront. As the old adage goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and this is particularly true among the often-fickle online shopper crowd. Whether you’re just beginning or looking to revamp an existing site, do not skimp on quality design. Create a storefront with a look and feel that will appeal to your customers, with superb navigation and exceptional usability. Use only high-quality photographs of your products to maintain a professional image.

At one time, developing a slick storefront required shop owners to either invest in costly web design software and training to try and build the site themselves or hire an expensive web designer to do it for them. Now, with professionally designed theme stores offered by the leading e-commerce platform providers, it’s never been easier to build an attractive, sleek, contemporary site in a matter of minutes.

2. Make it easy to buy. Ease of navigation is critical—the more complicated it is for your customers to find the products they want (and even those they didn’t yet know they wanted), the more likely they are to pass through without a purchase. Consider how your customers would shop for your products—by style, by application, by size, by feature or some other attribute—and organize your products in a way that most naturally aligns with their shopping style.

Don’t miss the opportunity to up-sell, offer add-on accessories, package promotions or “often bought together” products. Especially for stores offering non-essential or leisure items, this opportunity to capture an impulse buy can be a significant source of revenue. By offering discounts on bundles, you can make the customer feel like they’re getting a great deal and demonstrate that you appreciate their business.

Keep the checkout process as simple as possible. Avoid overwhelming shoppers with too much data input to reduce the number of abandoned shopping carts.

3. Be responsive to customers. While it should go without saying, maintaining exceptional customer service is vitally important in jumpstarting e-commerce sales. Besides processing orders quickly, make it easy for customers to contact you for help or to get their questions answered. When contacted, respond promptly and thoroughly to customer emails and phone calls with a personalized response. While a canned email to confirm receipt of the inquiry is okay, be sure to follow-up immediately with an actual, detailed reply. One shop, Callie’s Biscuits, has found a unique way to engage with even those customers who didn’t make a purchase: by following up on abandoned carts. Each week the store compiles the e-mail addresses of customers who abandoned orders and sends a personal message thanking them for their visit and asking whether they had any technical trouble in completing their order. As a result, many customers who’d forgotten about loading their cart often proceed to placing the order. It also provides an opportunity to gather customer feedback—if there was a specific reason they didn’t place the order, Callie’s can talk with the customer to resolve the issue and possibly turn the problem into a sale.

This kind of “unexpected” responsiveness can be quite refreshing to online shoppers who are more accustomed to being “out of sight, out of mind,” especially with larger retailers.

4. Add a personal touch. Certainly one of the key benefits of e-commerce is the automation factor. The ability to receive and process orders over the web can be a tremendous time and money saver. However, it’s important to maintain a personal touch with your customers that will help them to feel more connected with and appreciated by you and your business. Simple things, like a personalized hand-written note in the shipment box, can go a long way toward maintaining a personal connection with your customers without a significant time and cash investment.

5. Leverage social media. Integrating social media networks with your e-commerce presence is one of the most powerful ways to maintain customer engagement and drive sales. Aside from being extremely cost effective (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace are all free services), it allows you to engage in and maintain a dialogue with your customers—and potentially reach an even greater audience through the social media connections of your existing customers.

It’s easy to begin driving sales with social media by posting to your networks about new products, services or other store news. Social network-exclusive discounts can also make your social media fans feel special and encourage them to share the “secret” of your business with their network.

Beyond direct sales, though, social media outreach can serve to position you and your company as an industry expert, a trusted resource for information about your niche market. By building this kind of relationship with customers in an indirect and comfortable way, you can build a loyal and lucrative following and grow your customer base exponentially with ease and relatively little investment.

In today’s crowded e-commerce marketplace, it’s crucial to leverage every available opportunity to differentiate your business and spur sales. With the right tools at your disposal—including a feature-rich, flexible and affordable e-commerce platform that can grow with your business—and creative ways to personalize your offering to truly speak to your customers’ desires, it’s never been easier to jumpstart sales and grow your e-commerce business.

   Dimitri Onistsuk is the Vice President of Marketing at Shopify, a leading provider of e-commerce storefront software. Based in Canada's capital city of Ottawa, Ontario, the company provides a simple and affordable online retail platform that allows businesses of all sizes to operate with ease and efficiency. For more information, visit

 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 5 )  email

  brandchannel brandspeak archive   2014  |  2013  |  2012  |  2011  | 2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  |  2002  |  2001
Dec 17, 2010 Advertising’s Trust Deficit and How to Address It -- Dan Hill
  Why consumers mistrust advertising — and what brands can do.
Dec 10, 2010 Branding for Men: Less Testosterone, More Thought, Please -- Fred Richards
  Brands have reverted to the tried-and-true formula of communicating to the lowest common denominator in order to reach men. Big mistake.
Dec 3, 2010 Mass Retail in India - Brands Beware or Brands Be Ready? -- Sid Shah
  The opportunity in India is huge, but can be a conundrum — there is exponential growth, but also fears of a lacking infrastructure and rampant piracy. What's a brand marketer to do?
Nov 19, 2010 Customer Satisfaction is Not Enough - Why High Satisfaction Scores May Actually Spell “Danger” for Your Brand -- Michael Hinshaw
  Michael Hinshaw discusses customer satisfaction.
Nov 11, 2010 Internal Brand Engagement - Turn Employees Into Brand Ambassadors, Not Automatons -- Fermi Kuruvilla
  Fermi Kuruvilla emphasizes the importance of engaging employees — one tear at a time
Oct 29, 2010 Brands in the Land of the Dwarfs -- Guy Weinberger
  Guy Weinberger, the CEO of Zarmon Goldman DDB, on how social media perceptions impact consumers and brands
Oct 22, 2010 Platform Wars – Who Will Win and Who Will Lose? -- Chris O'Hara
  Traffiq’s Chris O’Hara weighs in on the platform wars debate
Oct 15, 2010 Who’s Selling What to Whom? -- Claire Ratushny
  Claire Ratushny
Oct 8, 2010 Reinforcing Employee Engagement
  Dr. Hubert Rampersad looks at how to impart brand values to employees.
Oct 1, 2010 Brands Should Think of Social Media as a Party -- Avi Savar
  The founder & CEO of Big Fuel Communications shares his advice to clients on making their brands shine in the social media space.
Sep 24, 2010 Five Ways to Win Back Lapsed Customers -- Jim Wehmann
  Jim Wehmann, VP of global marketing for Digital River, on boosting customer engagement
Sep 17, 2010 A Tale of Two Boomer Campaigns -- Stephen Reily
  The CEO of shares his insights on what makes boomers tick, and click.
Sep 10, 2010 Nation Branding at the 2010 World Expo: A Matter of Balance -- Jay Wang
  University of Southern California professor Jay Wang weighs in on the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, where he has been leading USC's research project on nation branding.
Aug 27, 2010 My Son, the YouTube Phenom -- Amy Mumby
  Amy Mumby, whose son Remy is a growing star on YouTube, talks about raising a personal branding star ... who's only ten years old.
Aug 20, 2010 Trust Me, I'm a Gamer -- Amanda Patanaphan
  My name is Amanda and I am a recovering World of Warcraft addict. Let me tell you why brand marketers should be paying attention to gaming.
Aug 13, 2010 Eat, Love, Share -- Ben Dehan
  Foodbuzz CEO Ben Dehan argues that Brand Awareness can and should be measured by Brand Engagement, not by display ad CTRs.
Aug 6, 2010 Business to Business as Usual -- Jonathan Katz
  Brand marketer Jonathan Katz finds brand identities in the B2B world are "meaningless, derivative, comfortable. We’ve been conditioned over the years to assume that these vacuous statements 'belong' in the business world." Wrong!
Jul 29, 2010 Your Brand Isn’t Selling? You’re Disconnected. -- Ted Mininni
  Retailers are concentrating on their store brands and giving shorter shrift to national brands and manufacturer partnerships.
Jul 23, 2010 The Four Imperatives of your Personal Brand -- Selena Rezvani
  Selena Rezvani, an author, speaker, and consultant on women and leadership, advises women on how to maintain their personal brands
Jul 16, 2010 Old Spice Man: An Open Letter -- Jeremy S. Griffin
  Social media strategist Jeremy S. Griffin responds to Old Spice's social media viral response campaign.
Jul 8, 2010 Hispanic Branding: Lost in Translation -- Joe Ray
  Estudio Ray president and creative director Joe Ray looks at common misconceptions in Hispanic branding and naming.
Jul 2, 2010 The Path to World-Class Packaging: The Annual Review -- Barbara Harrington
  Brandesign founder Barbara Harrington looks at whether packaging is a “line item” on an annual brand review -- and if not, why it should be.
Jun 18, 2010 Rebranding Inside and Out: How Trover Health System Changed Its Image -- Joseph Miller
  Trover Health System details its two-year, integrated approach to rebranding its hospital serving six counties in Western Kentucky.
Jun 11, 2010 Time to Re-think Brand Philippines? -- Robert Allen
  The election of Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino as the Philippine’s new President marks both a progression and continuity in the country’s politics. Will this represent continuity or change for the country’s brand?
Jun 4, 2010 Lessons from the Downturn: The New Marketing Rules -- Jonathan Gabay
  Brand Forensics founder Jonathan Gabay shares his insights for brands eager to from the recession
May 28, 2010 Mom’s the Word: Social Media and Mothers -- Avi Savar
  Big Fuel Communications CEO Avi Savar shares the company's best practices for brands targeting women, especially moms, through social media marketing campaigns
May 21, 2010 Banking in Asia Hits the Reset Button -- Robert Allen
  Why the global financial crisis presents an opportunity for banking brands to win market share in Asia
Apr 9, 2010 Curated Crowdsourcing: The Next Big Thing? -- Andrew Meehan
  Will crowdsourcing garner mass appeal?
Mar 10, 2010 Beyond Mad Men: It’s Time for Brand School -- Rex Whisman
  Why Mad Men is old school.
Jan 15, 2010 Become One of the All-Too-Few Brands that Matter -- Ted Mininni
  How creating excitement creates profits.