By Samantha Garner | March 25, 2017
Ernst & Young and the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance have released the EY G20 Digital Entrepreneurship Barometer for 2016, which assesses the overall success of G20 countries in fostering entrepreneurship. The goal in doing this is to “provide a standardized assessment of the digital entrepreneurship ecosystem across the G20 to help identify areas of relative strength by country and opportunities for improvement.”
We were very pleased to discover that Canada has placed in the top five in the categories of: Digital Skills and Entrepreneurial Education; Entrepreneurial Culture; Entrepreneurial Culture, Digital Business Environment; Digital Knowledge Base and ICT Market; and was first in the Access to Finance category.
According to the report:
The EY G20 Digital Entrepreneurship Barometer takes a focused digital lens to the five pillars of entrepreneurship to assess country performance and help identify areas of relative strength and opportunities for improvement.
You can download the full report here.
As Canada’s leading provider of small business training, we’re proud of our country’s commitment to entrepreneurs! Go, Canada!
By GoForth Guest Blogger | March 18, 2017
Your online shopping cart is an indicator of purchase intent. It shows what visitors to your ecommerce site are interested in. But it’s also a place to learn what stops them from making a purchase. When someone selects an item from your store and places it in the cart, it’s a great feeling. It’s exciting for them because the prospect of having a beautiful item delivered to their door is tantalizing. It’s exciting for you, because it means you’re doing the right thing, you have built something people like! Your business can be profitable and now you have the proof.
So why are there still unfulfilled sales in your customer’s shopping carts? There are a multitude of objections your customers may present before finalizing their purchase. Here are 7 ways your ecommerce start up can combat cart abandonment.
Invest in your marketing and your customer journey
You may start your business as the sole point of contact, but as your business grows, you’ll undoubtedly build a team of sales, finance, marketing and distribution professionals. Make sure you know what you stand for, what you want to achieve and what your ethos is. Even web visitors are impacted by the tone of a brand; the way they are spoken to, how long it takes you to get back to a question, and the look and feel of the online store. Market your business from beginning to end, remember the entire customer journey, and each touch point they encounter along the way.
Neglect people, neglect passion and your business will eventually flop. Build a site that’s beautiful, that’s shows off your best assets and your people. Now you’re on the road to success.
Price it right
Your store is set up, your products are online, you’re ready to sell. But if you haven’t done to groundwork to price appropriately, you’ll put people off for good. Research competitors, talk about the quality of finish, or the designers you use to prove authenticity and credibility. If you believe your products are fantastic – which I hope you do – talk about how great they are. Don’t undersell – believe it or not, underpricing items, or de-valuing your store, can be just as detrimental to a sale as overpricing.
It doesn’t have to take all your time to get this right. Just as is the case with most areas of ecommerce, someone has already thought of a nifty way to automate it for you. Browse these tools collected by Capterra to find the best solution for your business. Begin split testing your pricing to figure out your ideal price point for profitability.
People are powerful – customer service is king
People are the core of your business. Your employees and your customers will be affected by the culture you propagate. Your staff are your biggest asset, so choose wisely, and be professional.
It’s largely up to the visitor of your ecommerce store to have a look around around, check out the merchandise and make decisions. But there is so much you can do along the way to add to their experience and this will help determine if they hit the pay button.
If your visitor has questions about a product, get back to them as soon as possible. If you don’t have time, set up an automated email system to let them know their query has been received. A happy customer is a buying customer. Make sure you have eyes on everyone, just as you would if they walked into a physical retail space. Make them feel important, make them feel known. There are many popular customer service management tools available, such as ZenDesk, that can make engaging your customers in meaningful, memorable ways, a breeze.
For some great ‘people to people’ advice for your start up – listen to ‘Start up Canada’s’ podcast with Chris Kowalewski and Rob Hyrkiel.
Size and availability of stock
Try not to show items in stock that you don’t have available. It’s very disappointing for a customer to get to check-out and not be able to complete their purchase. Even if an order for the item is on its way, be transparent about that with your visitors and avoid losing them. Set expectations at the beginning of the journey, highlight sales items and give the impression of added value with discount codes for last season’s stock. If your customer feels they are getting a good deal, they’re less likely to object at the final post.
Reviews and product information
Encourage product reviews from happy customers, or provide in depth product descriptions so visitors doing research have a good point of reference and a credible reason to make their choices. Social media is a simple but effective way to achieve this. Make sure your Facebook profile is linked to your site, and likes are available and accessible to see.
Once a visitor makes their purchase, you can send an email thanking them, and once the item has been received, invite them to leave a review on your site and gather positive ‘word of mouth’ – digital style.
EKM is an ecommerce blog that offers lots of tips – including this one – on how to accumulate positive reviews. One of their suggestions is to put the added effort into your packaging. I often order from bespoke, small online retailers because I like to support them. What leaves a lasting impression is when the package arrives with a personal note, or artistic packaging. Go the extra mile, and you’ll reap the benefits.
If you’re delivering items via your ecommerce store, make sure you have delivery prices and delivery options available at checkout. There’s nothing more frustrating for customers than issues with delivery or returns. Make it as simple as possible and offer the options you would expect. You can’t always please everyone, but you can do your best to fulfill the needs of your customers, and still ensure you’re not losing revenue by providing convenient choices.
- Make sure the pricing of your shipping is reasonable and encourages the final click
- Consider in-the-bag options and deals such as free shipping on orders over a certain amount
- Customers loathe being duped at the final hurdle. Don’t be a duper – your visitors’ trust is far too important an asset.
If you’re a small business starting out it’s so important to factor these seemingly small considerations into your business plan.
If you’re in ecommerce, you need to offer the ecommerce payment solutions that are now industry standard. Make sure you have a Paypal account set up and always offer this as a first option. Not only does Paypal offer efficiency for a lot of online shoppers, but it’s one of the safest ways to transact online. And security is paramount to the success of any online business. Without trust, there is rarely a transaction. Ensure you also offer credit card and debit card payments from the usual providers.
Using an ecommerce platform to build and manage your online store is the best tip I can give for ensuring your customers complete their purchase journey. Using a platform like Shopify that offers a huge range of online payment options, means you can tailor your store to your customer’s preferred payment type. Shopify integrates with over 70 payment gateways, and whilst it’s best practice to pick only a very small selection of these, it’s a great way to ensure global customers have an opportunity to buy your products.
There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a customer’s items remain static in their cart. There are lots of tools you can use to remind them of items they’ve left behind or you can integrate a ‘save for later’ option like ASOS do. Your site should be optimized for the customer journey, but as a business you need to know who you are, who your audience is, and how to encourage that final click. Learn from the mistakes of other ecommerce start ups – there are plenty to choose from – and the plethora of forums that enable you to converse with other business owners. The best thing you can do, is know your customer, and give them what they want. If you’re a small business starting out, you’re in the right place to learn important lessons.
I hope this helps your shopping cart conversions – good luck!
Patrick Foster, ecommerce entrepreneur, coach & writer.
I’m currently writing on EcommerceTips.org where I share engaging ecommerce content for entrepreneurs – especially those in startup phase. I love delivering simple but relevant tips for new businesses.
By Samantha Garner | March 11, 2017
In today’s global marketplace, many entrepreneurs find that borders are not a hindrance to doing business. In fact, many small business owners would love to be able to reach more customers, regardless of where in the world they live or the language they happen to speak.
If this sounds like you, you may want to check out Localize.
Localize offers powerful solutions for automating the translation of web, backend, mobile, and file based content, saving you time and money with tools and libraries that your developers will love.
Localize can translate websites, apps, files, emails, SMS messages, and CMS. There’s even a Localize widget that can remember what language your visitors prefer.
If this sounds good to you, there is a 14-day trial available.
By Samantha Garner | March 4, 2017
Tax season is upon us, and many small businesses owners around Canada are busy getting their financial ducks in a row. At GoForth, we know tax time can be stressful or confusing, so we’ve compiled some tax-related blog posts that will hopefully shed some light on this topic for you.
- Accounting records that small business owners must keep
- Tip of the Month: Small Business Record Keeping
- Home-based small business deductions
- What do you do if you make a mistake with your taxes?
- GST/HST filing – what happens if you don’t file?
And check out Quickbooks’ post: 2017 Small Business Tax Calendar: Dates You Need to Know
By Samantha Garner | February 25, 2017
Do you use videos as part of your small business marketing strategy? If not, you may be missing out on a valuable and effective marketing tool that your customers will respond to very positively. Here are three ways you can use videos in your small business marketing:
An explainer video
As the name suggests, an explainer video guides customers and users through the salient features of your product or service. It’s similar to an elevator pitch, and can be a great way to quickly introduce your customers to what you’re offering, without making them search around your website to find out more. And a recent survey of American consumers showed that 73% of them are more likely to buy after watching an explainer video. Tip: Keep it as short and snappy as you can – 1-3 minutes should do it.
Your beautifully-written website paints an irresistible picture of your product – but what can be better than seeing your product in action? You might consider creating videos showing off the exciting and useful features of your product so customers can get even closer to the full experience. Tip: Be clear and communicate lingo-free where possible.
Testimonials are a favourite on many small business websites. However, testimonial videos can go even further in making that person-to-person connection that can help attract new customers. If your business already has written testimonials, consider asking those customers to star in a video testimonial as well. If your product or service has received good reviews on sites like YouTube, consider reaching out and asking if you can use the video on your site. Tip: Let your customer talk about the ways your product or service has benefited them specifically; you never know what other customers will find useful!