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10 Web Hosting Best Practices for Ecommerce Security

Ecommerce websites can provide vast sums of revenue, but adequately securing them can be difficult. These sites are often ripe targets for cyberattacks aiming for financial or other data. If there’s anything that recent times have taught us, it’s that things can change overnight. 

Over the past year or so, ecommerce sales have gone through the roof. Q1 2021 saw retail ecommerce in the US leaping 7.7% over the previous quarter.

Always-available ecommerce websites help us rake in sales around the clock, but safeguarding our sites and customers is a formidable undertaking. There are so many potential points of security weakness, from plugins to web host vulnerabilities.

To overcome this, you need the right mindset, tools, and habits in your inventory to ensure ecommerce security.

Web Hosting Considerations for Ecommerce Security

1. Work With Reputable Security Service Providers

Cloudflare’s DDoS mitigation capabilities include edge detection systems (Image Source: Cloudflare)

Regardless of whether you’re running WooCommerce, Magento, or any other kind of ecommerce platform, you’ll likely be using various security plugins or services. There are many of these in the market, but where possible, choose a reputable service provider.

You don’t need to choose one and work with them alone; there are industry leaders with varying areas of expertise. Cloudflare, for instance, is known for its content distribution network (CDN), which is excellent at mitigating Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

On the other hand, Sucuri offers excellent all-around website protection services, including a formidable Web Application Firewall (WAF).

2. Ensure Data Encryption in Transit

Most website owners today will know about the importance of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. They help visitors verify website identity and, more importantly, help encrypt data between them and your ecommerce website.

There are, however, various levels of SSL certificates. Non-commercial websites can get away with using free SSL like Let’s Encrypt, but ecommerce websites should avoid those. Remember that you’re handling more sensitive data, including customer information, payments, invoicing, and more.

Ecommerce websites should always consider more advanced SSL solutions such as the Organization Validation certificate. Many reputable brands offer this, including GeoTrust and DigiCert.

3. Always Secure Service Credentials

Many password managers utilize a zero-knowledge encryption system to secure credentials.

Working online, running several websites, and using hundreds of connected services has taught me a lot about passwords. Unless you’re repeating the same one or jotting them down, it’s impossible to remember complex passwords for each site.

Password managers are a relatively cheap tool that you can use to help with this. They store all your credentials securely so that you can create and use passwords like “xaACI91&[email protected]@-duh” with no problems.

Using simple passwords repeatedly is simply asking for trouble. A single data breach can compromise all your accounts, including administrative access to your ecommerce platform. 

4. Conduct Periodical Vulnerability Testing

Website owners who have their digital properties set up and tested are often averse to touching anything once it’s all running. This aversion is a mistake since tools and technologies are constantly changing.

Developers and security companies are constantly discovering new vulnerabilities, and cybercriminals can quickly get their hands on more modern and advanced tools.

Because of this, you need to be prepared to periodically reassess ecommerce security on your site. One way of doing this is to have regular Vulnerability, Assessment, and Penetration Testing (VAPT) sessions to discover and work towards mitigating potential threats.

5. Get the Right Security Certifications

Aside from your web assets, digitally-oriented organizations like ecommerce firms should look towards comprehensive security certifications. Depending on your location, this could mean several things.

One example of this is the ISO/IEC 27001 certificate, which ensures that you follow proper information security standards. Aside from helping increase your organization-wide resilience, it can also act as a form of customer assurance to let them know you treat their business with due respect.

To get one of the various certifications available, you will need to work with a third-party provider in your country. They’ll carry out an audit of your systems to ensure they meet guidelines, and if so, will issue the appropriate certificate.

6. Have a Strong Focus on Payments Security

One of the most vital weaknesses in ecommerce websites is when customers make the purchase. The exact link where money flows is a highly-valued cybersecurity target. This point is also where you need to ensure compliance with the proper ecommerce security standards.

Standards will vary depending on the payment methods accepted. For example, if you allow customers to pay by card, that means PCI-DSS. The standard helps ensure that proper safeguards are in place to protect payment information.

Failing to meet payment security standards can mean heavy fines, penalties, or future restrictions for your operations. Most payment standards will have guidelines to be followed before you’re certified. PCI-DSS, for instance, requires the use of encryption, antivirus, firewalls, and more.

7. Ensure Web Assets Are Monitored 24/7

Monitoring as a service is available through many brands like Pingdom (Image Source: Pingdom)

The internet never sleeps, and your ecommerce website could come under threat at any time. Having entire IT security teams on a constant watch can be expensive and introduces additional elements of human error.

That’s where automation comes into play, and with the right tools, you can have apps and services constantly monitoring your web server. One example is the use of a web server monitoring tool to keep watch on resource usage. If things spike past a threshold level, it could be an early warning sign of some form of cyberattack.

8. Customer Education

Although customers aren’t part of your infrastructure, they are intrinsically a link to your platform. Attacks against them can lead to ecommerce security compromises on your site. There are some ways you can help them increase security, such as mandating strong passwords or requiring Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

However, there are some things they need to do themselves. Educating customers on security best practices is in your best interest. You can do this via outreach programs designed to warn customers about potential dangers such as phishing attacks.

9. Always Have Systems Fully Patched

Ecommerce platforms typically have many moving parts. Even the web hosting solution will need multiple applications working together to properly function; the web server, operating system, ecommerce application, and more.

Developers and security researchers are constantly finding new security issues with existing software. When that happens, developers often release patches. While some of these may be automatically applied, that’s not always the case.

Always have periodical update reviews to ensure your systems are running the latest secure versions of all applications. If you’re using a modular platform like WordPress/WooCommerce, that means ensuring each plugin and theme is also updated.

Where possible, don’t rely on automated patches as these aren’t always the best solution. Sometimes, hastily applied patches may introduce new bugs to operational platforms.

10. Always Ensure Adequate Backup Systems are in Place

Backups are often an overlooked part of any IT system. However, remember that it is a vital pillar of business continuity in a disaster, especially where eCommerce websites are concerned. Having suitable backup systems can mean the difference between an online store that recovers within moments or a total loss.

For most people, backups can be as simple as duplicating data on an alternative location on the server. As the OVH data center fire has taught us, that is far from sufficient. Backup best practices usually involve creating multiple copies of data across various locations. Remember that the data backups also need to be frequently refreshed.

More importantly, you need to verify the integrity of backup systems and data. Instances have arisen where blind faith in backup systems resulted in the restoration of corrupted data.

Final Thoughts: Always Ensure Transparency

Even as you work diligently to secure your digital assets, always remember that customers are a core part of your business. Working with them, you can increase your security profile while offering the transparency that today’s consumers desire.

Sharing updates on security concerns, understanding security challenges faced by customers, and helping them stay safe is in your best interest.

Meanwhile, the security highway is constantly evolving, so don’t be complacent once you have everything established. Be aware of new threats and vectors; that’s the best way to ensure ecommerce security.

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Retail Pricing Strategy for Ecommerce Stores

One of the keys to a successful business is selling at the right price. If your products are inexpensive, you may rake in more sales but have a hard time turning a profit. And if your products are too pricey, consumers will turn to other retailers, and you’ll lose your market share

But if you’re a small business owner, don’t fall prey to the misconception that price alone drives sales

When it comes to a retailer’s pricing strategy, there isn’t one surefire approach that fits all. You need to perform a product pricing balancing act that considers business and production costs, consumer trends, revenue goals, competitor pricing, and even a little psychology.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • What retail pricing is.
  • What kinds of retailer pricing strategies you can use.
  • How to choose the right retail pricing strategy.

What Is Retail Pricing?

The retail price is the final amount consumers pay to purchase an item. 

To make a profit, the retail price you set for a product must include the cost of goods for you, plus an additional markup to make a profit. 

As an online retailer, you can take numerous approaches to pricing products or services. The right strategy for you will depend on your short and long-term business goals.

Here’s the good news.

We’re about to explore 10 approaches, so you can pick the retail pricing strategy that will work best for you. 

Pricing Strategy Examples

  1. Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
  2. Keystone Pricing
  3. Markup Pricing
  4. Discount Pricing
  5. Bundle Pricing
  6. Penetration Pricing
  7. Psychological Pricing
  8. Premium Pricing
  9. Competitive Pricing
  10. Dynamic Pricing

1. Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

If you sell mass-produced items such as consumer electronics and household appliances, the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is a good pricing strategy to adopt.

MSRP is a standard price for an item, regardless of who is selling it. It takes the guesswork out of setting prices, but it can dull your competitive edge when your product sells at the same price as other retailers.

2. Keystone Pricing

Keystone pricing is a type of markup pricing. With this strategy, you double each product’s wholesale price to create a healthy profit margin. 

With a fixed percentage, your calculations will be simple. Maybe too simple — it’s easy to end up pricing products too low and too high.

Keystone pricing isn’t a good option if you offer highly unique products or custom items that take a long time to create because you won’t make enough profit. 

It’s just as poor a pricing strategy if you sell standardized, common products. Depending on the availability and demand for an item, it might be unreasonable for a retailer to mark up items at such a high rate.

3. Markup Pricing

Markup pricing (also called cost-plus pricing) is the most common and intuitive pricing strategy for retailers. You add a percentage of the base cost of individual items to create a profit — but you apply a different markup depending on the product. 

When selling a high volume of products or seasonal and perishable items that need to be sold quickly, it’s best to set the markup below 100%.

When selling custom products or privately labeled items like cosmetics, jewelry, alcohol, or electronics, you can set the markup above 100%.

It is straightforward in theory, but markup pricing requires you to spend extra time evaluating factors such as perceived customer value and competitor pricing.

4. Discount Pricing

When retailers mark down their products’ prices to encourage sales, it’s called discount pricing.

One form of discount pricing is the high-low pricing strategy: Products are introduced at a high price point and marked down when demand decreases. 

Electronics retailers use this strategy most often. Computers, game consoles, and smartphones are the most expensive when they’re first released. But when the next model comes out, the previous versions are sold at low prices.

Discount pricing is an effective strategy if you want to clear unsold inventory and increase sales. But if you become known for discounting your products, customers may perceive them as low quality or grow accustomed to waiting for the lower price. 

5. Penetration Pricing

Penetration pricing is another form of discount pricing. A business offers its new product or service at a lower price to attract customers. The idea is to get consumers hooked with a sale price, so they are willing to pay full price after the promotional period expires.

The penetration pricing strategy works best for subscription products, especially in a competitive market.

Businesses that use this pricing model include:

Similar to penetration pricing is the loss-leader pricing strategy, in which products are sold at a loss just to get customers in the door. 

6. Bundle Pricing

Bundle pricing is another discount pricing strategy. It’s useful if you sell related items you can package together. Bundling items lets you curate the customer experience and empowers you to increase sales volumes through up-sells or cross-sells

Common examples of bundle pricing are Christmas baskets or deli bundles that include preselected wines, cheeses, and meats.

Similar to bundle pricing, multiple pricing sets products at a lower price when more than one is purchased. For example, “buy one, get one free,” or “buy two, get 20% off.”

This strategy works best when you bundle less popular items with your high-demand products. Sales are hard to resist, especially if the customer is buying something they already want. You can simultaneously attract customers and get slow-moving items out the door. 

7. Psychological Pricing

Psychological pricing is a value-based pricing strategy. Also known as charm pricing, it depends on the customer’s perceived value of the item.  

According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon, people experience pain when they spend money.  It’s up to merchants to minimize that pain.

You see psychological pricing almost every day when retailers give products a price that ends in an odd number. 

For instance, instead of charging $6, retailers price a product at $5.99. The brain sees $5 and the consumer is tricked into perceiving a lower price.

Psychological pricing is best applied to non-essentials, as it encourages customers to spend impulsively.

8. Premium Pricing

Premium pricing (also known as prestige pricing or luxury pricing) is another value-based pricing strategy. High-end retailers sell their products at an additional markup that gives their customers the sensation of status.

Premium pricing works best when your product quality and customer service can match the expensive price tag. It also depends heavily on successfully marketing your brand as high-end. 

It’s how Gucci sells their $1,200 Lady Lock bags. Other companies that use premium pricing include:

As an online retailer, it may be difficult to replicate the luxurious feeling these companies have spent decades cultivating. However, you can validate your premium pricing with a chic design aesthetic, high-quality products, and a stellar customer experience — which includes a fast-loading website.

9. Competitive Pricing

Competitive pricing entails consciously setting lower prices to gain a competitive advantage. It works best if you’re in an industry with similar products, where your competitors’ prices are the only differentiator. 

The competitive pricing strategy is most effective if you’re a larger retailer and can negotiate a lower wholesale price from suppliers so you can still earn a decent profit. However, small retailers can be driven out of business in a price war. 

10. Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing is a retailers pricing strategy where you adjust your prices according to changes in supply and demand. 

Ecommerce businesses are in the best position to use dynamic pricing because it can be done in real-time. When you sell online, you can leverage technology and data to sell the same product at different prices depending on the purchaser. 

The dynamic pricing strategy requires software, data, and manpower. WooCommerce plugins can help you price products optimally on your WordPress website.

Final Thoughts: Retail Pricing Strategy for Ecommerce Stores

When deciding on a retailer’s pricing strategy, online sellers have several factors to consider, including their company’s niche, competition, market behavior, and most importantly, financial targets.

Of all the strategies we’ve shared, no single pricing tactic will be enough. Small business owners should experiment and combine tactics to develop the right pricing strategy to ensure their company’s profitability.

Get your online store up and running fast with Hostdedi’s ecommerce web hosting plans. Experience the speed and scale of fully managed hosting for yourself. Start your free two-week trial today.

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Use an Entrepreneurial Mindset, Even When You’re Small

The 2020 pandemic has changed online shopping forever. The shift to ecommerce has been boosted by five years, and small businesses are scrambling to adapt.

While we hear about successful businesses that quickly pivoted to ecommerce, let’s not forget about those left in the dust. 

Studies show that 90% of ecommerce startups fail within the first 120 days. The main reason? Lack of an ecommerce strategy.

It’s not enough for aspiring entrepreneurs to be internet-savvy. After all, anyone can learn how to optimize their websites for speed. It takes an entrepreneurial mindset to run, grow, and build your ecommerce business to last.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at:

  • Successful ecommerce strategies.
  • The characteristics of a business mindset.
  • How to build an entrepreneurial mindset.

Ecommerce Strategy

  1. Be customer-centric.
  2. Optimize the shopping experience. 
  3. Leverage data to increase sales. 

Ecommerce Strategy #1: Be Customer-Centric

The most successful entrepreneurs often talk about bringing value to the customer

Instead of being revenue or product-focused, customer-centric companies consider their customers’ needs above all else. This is evident in their excellent customer service and cohesive consumer experience at every step of the buyer’s journey.

Millennial favorite Glossier found success by creating products that its customers wanted. The company built a loyal following and customer base purely through its ecommerce website and social media accounts.

Adopting a customer-centric strategy gives you a competitive advantage over other ecommerce businesses. It increases customer loyalty, eventually benefitting your downline.

Ecommerce Strategy #2: Optimize the Shopping Experience

If you want to sell more products, you have to make the shopping experience as seamless as possible. Some ways to improve the shopping experience:

  • Ensure your website is fast, accessible, and mobile-responsive.
  • Make the checkout process easy by not requiring buyers to create an account, saving shipping and payment information, and using form fields and auto-fill.
  • Offer various payment methods and expedited shipping.

Ecommerce Strategy #3: Leverage Data To Increase Sales

Today, data available to ecommerce platforms can be used to drive upsells and cross-sells through retargeting and personalized recommendations.

Ecommerce personalization and retargeting drive more conversions, sales, and revenue while enriching customer interactions with your online store.

Amazon is notorious for offering many recommendations. The company uses data to analyze customer behavior (for example, previous purchases and frequency of purchase) to segment similar customers and effectively recommend products.

Thinking Big: Characteristics of a Business Mindset

The ecommerce strategies detailed above won’t mean anything without an entrepreneurial mindset.

Having a business mindset empowers successful entrepreneurs to see the long-term big picture and adapt to the quickly-changing nature of ecommerce.

Every business owner’s journey is unique, but the best entrepreneurs often share a specific skill set that includes the following characteristics:

  • Innovative. Aspiring entrepreneurs with a business mindset think of the simplest ways to solve problems, resulting in process improvements or creating new products. Most people never thought we’d have self-driving cars or have the chance to be space tourists, but Elon Musk is making it happen with Tesla and SpaceX
  • Resilient. Mistakes are inevitable when launching startups, but the best entrepreneurs bounce back from failure and learn from their mistakes. Alibaba founder Jack Ma was rejected ten times from Harvard and rejected 30 times from jobs before he found success with Alibaba, China’s largest ecommerce website.
  • Lifelong learner. Many of today’s successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common: no college degree. Steve Jobs didn’t finish his degree but had taken calligraphy in college, which he later said was the inspiration for Apple’s typography. 

How To Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

It can be daunting or discouraging to develop an entrepreneurial mindset when you don’t have prior experience. 

The good news?

You can hone these entrepreneurial skill sets required to start your own business:

  • Provide value to others. Anyone can sell things online, but entrepreneurial success can be found when improving other people’s lives. When you focus on others, you see their needs more clearly.
  • Practice being decisive. Entrepreneurs constantly have to make quick decisions with the available data at the time. Practice critical thinking by looking through problems from different angles.
  • Remain curious. Continue seeking out new experiences and study what you don’t know. Take entrepreneurship courses and attend webinars. Learn from mentors and educators.

Final Thoughts: Using a Business Mindset for a Winning Ecommmerce Strategy

Anyone can create a startup, but without a clear ecommerce strategy, success isn’t guaranteed.

Business owners with an entrepreneurial mindset recognize opportunities and bounce back from failures. They differentiate themselves from their competitors by focusing on creating value and leveraging available technology.

If you’re an innovator looking to start a new venture,  let Hostdedi handle your business website. Set up a website in minutes with our ecommerce hosting plans, or try it for yourself with a free two-week trial of fully managed WooCommerce hosting by Hostdedi.

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How to Create a Business Plan: Ecommerce Business Plans

Proper planning is the key to success for any company and especially a new business. 

A 2019 study from Startup Genome found that 90% of ecommerce startups fail within their first 120 days of operation. Some of the reasons for failure include poor search engine visibility, a saturated market, and financial issues — all of which could have been addressed ahead of time with an ecommerce business plan.

It may seem like a daunting task. But learning how to create a business plan is the best step you can take to set yourself up for long-term success. 

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • Why you need an ecommerce business plan.
  • What the elements of a business plan are.
  • How to create a business plan for ecommerce.

Why You Need an Ecommerce Business Plan 

An ecommerce business plan is just like the business plan you’d put together for any other business. It describes a company’s current status and eventual goals. 

If you’re figuring out how to create a business plan, you’ll need to consider all the details of building your business, including:

  • Products and services.
  • Financial models.
  • Operations.
  • Staffing.
  • Timeframe for achieving your goals.

Not every ecommerce brand launches with a formal business plan, but there is value in taking time to step back and study the market you’re looking to enter. That way, you can formulate a strategy to launch and grow a successful ecommerce site.

A solid business plan empowers you to:

  • Develop a strategy for growing your business.
  • Determine potential obstacles.
  • Identify the human, physical, or financial resources needed.
  • Evaluate the viability of your business idea.

Let’s go over the sections of a typical business plan. 

Elements of a Business Plan

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Overview
  • Market Analysis
  • Products and Service
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Plan

Business Plan Template: How to Create a Business Plan for Ecommerce 

Writing a business plan is not as complicated as people assume it will be. Here’s how to create a business plan for your online business. 

Sum Up Your Plan With an Executive Summary

As the name suggests, the executive summary outlines the key points discussed in the rest of the ecommerce business plan. It is critical when you’re approaching potential investors with limited time. 

The executive summary is often the last section to be written, but it should be the first thing someone reading your plan sees. The executive summary’s goal is to encourage the reviewer to continue reading the rest of the business plan.

Keep it brief — an executive summary shouldn’t exceed one page.

Introduce Your Company With the Company Overview

The company overview introduces the business. By the time a reader finishes this section, they should know who you are and what you plan to do.

This section should provide an overview of your business in terms of:

  • Company and brand name
  • Brand mission, vision, and values
  • Business history: How did your company start?
  • Business structure: Are you a single proprietorship, partnership, corporation?
  • Business model: Do you purely sell products? Will you get into ads or affiliate marketing?
  • Value proposition: What makes your company unique?

Study Opportunities by Conducting a Market Analysis

In an industry as volatile as ecommerce, it’s no exaggeration to say that choosing the right market can make or break your business — you may continuously struggle to sell if you’re in the wrong market. As such, it’s important to do some market research.

This section of your business plan should discuss:

  • Market size: How big is your potential market?
  • Market share: What percent of the market have you captured?
  • Industry trends and growth: Explore other trends that may arise over time and other markets you can branch out to. A SWOT analysis can identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Competitive analysis: How do you fare compared to your competitors? What strategies are you going to adopt? Will you differentiate, segment, or offer competitive pricing?

For ecommerce startups, you should also include the following when doing a competitor analysis:

Get Into More Detail About Your Products and Services

You will mention your products and services in other parts of your ecommerce business plan, but you can dig into the particulars in this section. 

A products and services section is crucial if you sell niche products or provide a unique service.  If you sell a variety of items, you can include general descriptions of each here.

Convince Your Target Audience To Buy With a Marketing Plan

Once you establish that you have a winning product to sell to a promising market, it’s time to determine how you’ll convince customers to buy. This could involve working with bloggers and influencers, sharing branded quips with market leaders on LinkedIn, or by signing up as a retailer with Amazon. 

A marketing plan discusses your strategy to advertise your business and reach potential customers. Your plan will highly depend on the profile of your target market.

Your ideal customer is the foundation of your marketing plan. Visualize what kind of person you want to buy your products or services to create a buyer persona. 

Come up with a set of general demographic characteristics such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education level
  • Salary

You should also consider their specific behaviors — how do they spend their time and money? For instance, a stay-at-home mom has different interests and spending habits compared to a college student.

Additionally, most ecommerce marketing strategies include information on what Neil Borden calls the 4P’s:

  • Price: How much do your products and services cost? Why did you price it that way?
  • Product: What are the product’s salient features? Why should people buy it? What makes it different from competitors?
  • Promotion: How are you getting the word out? Are you going to do it through social media advertising? If so, what platform?
  • Place: What ecommerce platform will you use to sell your products?

How to Do SEO for Ecommerce Websites: Techniques, Tools, & Best Practices >>

Share Your Ecommerce Startup’s Day-to-Day With an Operations Plan

The operations plan details how you’ll run your online business. This section should demonstrate to potential investors that there are contingency plans in place if difficult situations arise. It should also define the specific nature of your ecommerce store, such as whether it involves dropshipping or print on demand.

Your operations plan should cover every aspect of the supply chain:

  • Suppliers and service providers: Where are your products sourced or produced? What about any raw materials that make them up?
  • Production: Are products made, bought, or will they be dropshipped? Are they physical products or digital products?
  • Facilities and equipment: Do you plan to have an office, physical retail space, or warehouse?
  • Sales channels: Aside from your chosen ecommerce platform, will you also be selling on social media?
  • Inventory: How much product will you have on hand? Where will it be stored?
  • Delivery fulfillment: What is your delivery lead time? Will you offer both local and international shipping?

How Do I Find the Right Dropshipping Suppliers? >>

Demonstrate Profitability With a Solid Financial Plan

The time or effort you invest won’t matter much to potential investors. Their top consideration is a business’s financial feasibility. 

Your financial plan is one of the most critical sections in your ecommerce business plan. With 82% of companies failing due to cash flow problems, potential investors want to know if a business will be worth their while. Digging into the financials will also help to determine how to fund initial startup costs.

Most financial plans include:

  • Income statement: This includes revenue sources and income statements which show whether the business was profitable or not.
  • Balance sheet: This provides a snapshot of your business’s equity, which is the difference between the assets and liabilities.
  • Cash-flow statement: This is similar to the income statement but provides a real-time report of your revenue and expense flow. More income than expenses indicates a positive cash flow, while the opposite indicates a negative cash flow. Aim for the former to keep your business solvent.

Final Thoughts: How to Create a Business Plan for Ecommerce 

An ecommerce business plan facilitates your business’s success by providing direction for where it should go. Writing an effective plan for your online store does not have to be complicated. 

If you spend time gathering information on your company, competitors, and future plans, then your business plan can be a roadmap to achieving your business goals. 

You handle the business plan, and we’ll handle your website. Jumpstart your ecommerce company with Hostdedi’s managed WooCommerce hosting packages and our online StoreBuilder today. 

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How to Find a Profitable Niche for Your Ecommerce Shop

One of the biggest reasons why small businesses fail is a lack of product strategy.

Too many online shops resemble marketplaces that sell everything. They figure this means they’ll be able to capture a larger market and more customers. However, when you try to sell to everyone, you end up selling to no one.

If you want to brand your online business or be an authority, you have to choose a product niche. Choosing the right niche establishes your credibility over competitors, ensures a more focused business, and opens you up to other income opportunities down the line, such as affiliate marketing.

What’s the result? Profitability.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • What a niche is.
  • How to find a profitable niche.
  • How to find a niche product.

What Is a Niche?

A niche is a profitable market segment with a focused audience. It is a subset of a large market defined by its own unique identity.

For example, the furniture market can be segmented according to use (i.e. office furniture, home furniture, or antique furniture), material (plastic, wood, or upholstered), or price.

The specific niche you choose can influence many aspects of your business, including:

  • What products you sell.
  • How much you sell.
  • Which suppliers you work with.
  • What kind of marketing strategies you should use.

Choosing the perfect niche is more complicated than it seems — you need to find a niche with products that are high in demand but low in competition.

Only when you find the right niche can you determine how to find a niche product. 

Below you’ll learn how to find a profitable niche.

How to Find a Profitable Niche

  • Brainstorm niches you’re passionate about.
  • Identify the problem of your niche market.
  • Look for profitable niche markets.

How to Find a Profitable Niche Idea #1: Brainstorm Niches You’re Passionate About

To start your search for a profitable niche, make a list of your interests and what you’re good at. This is just the brainstorming stage, so don’t worry about financial viability at this point.

The ideal niche is at the intersection of profitability and your interests. Business is hard work. If you’re in it for the long run, it’s best to create a business you know you’re going to enjoy.

Additionally, if you choose a niche you’re passionate about, you already have an idea of the basics, including: 

  • Who to sell to.
  • How to sell it.
  • What needs to be improved.
  • Where to get suppliers.

Who knows — you may even get to develop new products. 

How to Find a Profitable Niche Idea #2: Identify the Problem of Your Niche Market

Good marketers know the key to success and longevity in business is to identify an unmet or underserved need and create a solution.

Analyze your target audience and identify gaps in the marketplace. Your products or services should address a pain point that your audience is currently experiencing.

Here are some websites you can use to seek out that information:

How to Find a Profitable Niche Idea #3: Look for Profitable Niche Markets

Validate your business idea by checking on its value in the niche market. Otherwise, you’ll waste time and effort trying to sell something unprofitable. 

Remember: Not all markets are created equal. Some are more profitable than others. Choose a sector that has anticipated growth.

To start, read articles on ecommerce trends, and look through a list of profitable niches.

How to Find a Niche Product

Now that you’ve learned how to find a profitable niche, it’s time to look for products to sell. 

A suitable niche product should:

  • Have a relatively low amount of competitive products.
  • Be in demand.
  • Have the potential for long-term popularity.

Here’s how to find a niche product:

  • Check past and present trends.
  • Perform keyword research.
  • Study the competition.

To choose the best niche products, analyze past and current trends. Input keywords from the niche you’re eyeing in Google Trends to check their performance over time. 

For instance, the search term “weight loss pills” enjoys relatively stable activity because people will always be interested in an easy way to shed pounds.

Meanwhile, seasonal terms such as “candy cane” only see a surge in searches around Christmastime.

Avoid fads. “Bread baking” may have experienced a surge in search volume during the height of the pandemic. But its popularity has already dropped back to pre-pandemic levels, which indicates bread baking niche products will not be viable long-term.

How to Find a Niche Product #2: Perform Keyword Research

To find saleable niche products, do keyword research on popular ecommerce platforms such as eBay or Amazon

Amazon’s bestseller page is a goldmine for keywords you can break down into niches and sub-niches.

Let’s say you want to move into the beauty industry. On the bestseller page of Amazon’s Beauty and Personal Care category, you’ll find subcategories such as bath accessories, fragrances, hair care, and makeup. Explore these categories for new products to sell.

Look at the highest-rated items and their prices to validate what people are willing to pay for them.

How to Find a Niche Product #3: Study the Competition

Although you may want to break into a new niche, competition signifies a healthy business opportunity. 

Be wary of a niche that doesn’t have any competitors. They’re evidence of an existing market. Competition indicates people are looking for the kinds of products you want to sell.

When you study the competition, you can also identify gaps in their current offerings and the markets they’re targeting. Use tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to research your competitors’ top content, traffic sources, social media, and sales pages.

Final Thoughts: How to Find a Profitable Niche for Your Ecommerce Shop

Contrary to popular belief, it’s relatively easy to make money online, but many small businesses fail due to a lack of a product strategy.

Learning how to find a profitable niche and how to find niche products is vital to building an online business. Use the information to stand out from the competition, establish your credibility, and create a focused business.

Have you found your niche? Get your online store up and running fast — check out Hostdedi’s ecommerce hosting plans today.

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The Ultimate Magento 1 to Magento 2 Migration Guide

Still on Magento 1? Today might be a good time to start working on a migration plan to a newer platform. In this guide, we will cover the process of migrating your data and customizations from Magento 1 to Magento 2.

While Adobe stopped supporting the original Magento software in June 2020, there’s a good chance  you are still using Magento 1 to sell your products online. This is not inherently bad, given that there are products like Hostdedi Safe Harbor where you can get expert Magento 1 support for a fair price, but at some point it’ll be wise to replatform to a solution that’s being actively developed using the latest practices and technologies. 

With that in mind, we created the ultimate Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration guide.

Here’s what you need to know:

Data:

The first step should always be assessing what’s going to be migrated and what’s going to be left out of this process. This is a great opportunity to reduce your site’s footprint and make it lightweight. 

Do you really need all those product variations? How about the CMS pages you created for marketing and special events? Once you decide what’s going to be migrated over to the new platform, there are several tools you can use to automate the process. A complete file and DB backup is recommended before beginning the migration just in case it doesn’t complete and files are removed or modified in the process.

Magento released their own migration tool to handle some entities, including stores, websites, and system configurations like shipping, payment, tax settings, created orders, reviews, changes in customer profiles, plus all operations with orders, products and categories. That tool can be found here.

There will be data that needs to be manually migrated and that usually includes media files, storefront designs, access control lists and admin users. A how-to guide for manually migrating entities can be found here

Integrations:

Most of the stores we see at Hostdedi contain several 3rd party integrations: ERPs, PIMs, CIMs, CRMs, etc. Ads and marketing integrations are the most common ones used for Magento.  

Almost none of these integrations can be migrated automatically due to the differences in architecture between Magento 1 and 2 but the good news is that vendors usually offer migration tools and even modules for both versions, making this migration work simpler. 

Contact your preferred vendor and ask about their Magento 2 module andchances are you won’t have to develop these integrations from scratch. In the case where there’s no official Magento 2 module for the integration you need, check the Magento Marketplace to try and find a matching module for your integration. 

Extensions:

While Magento 1 used to include a web installer to download and install modules, Magento 2 completely removed this feature for security reasons. Sites with more than 100 modules were not common back then and code quality checks were almost on existent.

With the new Marketplace implementing quality checks, the quality of Magento’s extensions has improved dramatically. And while installation is not as simple as it used to be, a consistent standard is being met and code issues are less common for Magento 2. 

Bloated sites with multiple extensions doing the same thing is extremely common in Magento 1 and replatforming to Magento 2 is a good opportunity to remove any unused module to avoid extra classes being loaded and performance degradation. 

Look and feel/Themes:

Theming is often dismissed as “not that important” or “just design” but the truth is it’s a key part of the user experience. Both Magento 1 and 2 had frontend technologies that were already old when they were released (Prorotype.js and Knockout.js), but nowadays there are better options like PWAs or hybrid approaches developers can enjoy developing. There’s not much that can be directly ported between Magento 1 and 2 when it comes to themes and front end implementations, but given the rise of headless and PWA implementations and the API coverage, it has never been simpler to develop modern and usable front ends for your ecommerce store.

Hosting:

It’s really important to keep in mind that the performance profile of Magento 2 is very different from Magento 1. Don’t leave your server sizing and decisions for last and always remember to test your builds in an environment as close as possible to your live production. The infrastructure requirements are different as well with software like Varnish and ElasticSearch being supported out of the box or as system requirements.

Sizing the resources you need might not be as simple as it was with Magento 1 and that’s why the usual recommendation is to reach out to your hosting provider with some historical data to get a quote. Magento 2 is a resource hogging beast and should be treated as such. While developers love to set up production environments, they often forget you actually have to maintain those with security updates and patches. Going the Managed Cloud route should be a simple decision if you don’t already have an in-house sysops team with previous experience with Magento clouds.

Conclusion:

We developed Hostdedi Safe Harbor to provide the updates and security needed by M1 stores post-EOL as they consider their next steps. If you’re a Hostdedi customer and not on Safe Harbor yet, it’s a simple add and can buy you time. Planning for migration early in 2021 will give you the runway you need to make a solid choice for your next platform and be ready for your store’s next phase of success – especially in time for Holiday. The most important takeaways are to understand how different Magento 1 is from Magento 2, ensure you’re looking at all your options, and feel confident in the choice you make for your next platform.

While guides like this are helpful, most of the work required for migration will need to be done by a system integrator or a development agency and having a good technological partner will help you solve common issues and scale when needed. We’re here to help with referrals or even to bat around ideas. You can explore more about Hostdedi here.

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Elasticsearch in Magento 2.4: It’s not just a good idea; it’s required

When Magento 2.4 was introduced in July 2020, Elasticsearch became a requirement. If you haven’t already upgraded, you’re going to want to take action as soon as possible to deliver the best possible experience to your customers. 

What is Elasticsearch?

We’ve all gone to sites where the search function returned results that were incomplete, irrelevant, unfilterable, or otherwise difficult to make sense of. For quite some time, Elasticsearch has been a popular solution to improve search results. It allows merchants to tune search results based on frequency, recency, popularity, and other factors. It helps shoppers get to the results they want, minimizing the effect of typos, words out of order, and other all-too-human gaps in the input.

Because it’s proven so useful, Magento made it a required component in Magento installs of version 2.4 and beyond. To be specific, Elasticsearch 7.6.x is the recommended version for Magento 2.4.

So whether you’re a Main Street merchant or a multi-million dollar brand, older hosting environments will need to be upgraded. Which makes it a perfect time to take the leap to a hosting provider that will do more than just keep you online. 

Hostdedi containers support Elasticsearch (and more)

Hostdedi Managed Magento plans support many services including Elasticsearch with Cloud Containers. Containers allow you to add the services you need for your Magento installation, sized with the resources required for your site, including:

  • Elasticsearch (the search utility that’s now required in Magento 2.4)
  • RabbitMQ (an open source message broker that helps websites to exchange data)
  • Solr (another search utility, popular with Magento 1 merchants)
  • Varnish (reduces server load by caching dynamic content)

Hostdedi Magento plans are available in sizes XS through 2XL to meet the needs of  Magento merchants of all sizes. And if your site has outgrown the solution you’re currently running, our dedicated server offerings are also equipped to handle Magento 2.4.

For Dedicated servers, Elasticsearch 7.6 may require other updates

Our Dedicated Servers and Cluster solutions are set up with CentOS7, Apache 2.4, and PHP 7.4, as required for Elasticsearch 7.6. If you are using an older hosting solution, you may find that the upgrade to Magento 2.4 requires an update so that these versions are current.

Whether you’re already hosting your Magento site with Hostdedi or you’re currently hosted elsewhere, Hostdedi support makes migration to a Magento 2.4-ready environment easy (and free). We’re at-the-ready to support your compliance for Magento 2.4 whenever you are. 

Learn more about all the benefits of Hostdedi Managed Magento here

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75% Off 3 Months of Managed Hosting: Position Yourself for Your Best Year Yet with Our Best Deal Ever

In 2020, a year that has been so hard on so many businesses, we are grateful for the resilience and determination of the agencies, sites, and stores that rely on Hostdedi. 

Thank you for being our customers.

2020 Was a Game-Changing Year In Ecommerce

Let’s face it – 2020 was BANANAS. In this year alone, small businesses took massive hits in revenue, and nearly 100,000 closed their doors for good. Others have thrived.

Adaptability and resilience has been the name of the game for 2020. As brick and mortar businesses closed their doors due to COVID, ecommerce sales surged. Total online spending by May had skyrocketed by $52 billion, a 77% year-over-year increase.

This year was also an unexpected boon for ecommerce developers. In an industry already rife with demand, ecommerce development agencies saw an increase in demand for new websites. The total number of ecommerce sites, as of this year, now stands at over 24 million.

Where Ecommerce Companies Are Still Losing Revenue

The caveats to success in ecommerce are still there, however. Pages that load in more than three seconds deter 40% of traffic, and an estimated $18 billion in revenue per year is still lost due to cart abandonment.

Ecommerce is thriving, and the opportunity is growing rapidly. By 2040, it’s estimated that 95% of all purchases will be made online. That is astounding!

The problems with ecommerce still exist though, and now more than ever, it’s time to ensure your digital commerce site is speed optimized for conversions.

Positioning Yourself for Your Best Year Yet

No matter how wild it gets out there, Hostdedi is going to keep on giving you hosting you can count on. That’s been our focus throughout this crazy year – continue innovating, keep your sites online and safe, maintain fair prices, and keep providing the tools you need to stand up a new ecommerce shop, or maintain an old one. 

This Black Friday, we’re gonna keep on keeping on by offering our customers our BEST SALE EVER. This is truly one for the record books, folks. Hostdedi has never offered a discount this deep. 

We’re offering an unprecedented 75% Off 3 months of our most popular plans with code JOYFOR2021.

No matter what happens in 2021, you can count on Hostdedi to keep making it easy and affordable to start your own online business or migrate to a hosting provider who is a true partner in business.

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This Is What Happens When Your Magento 1 Site Gets Hacked

In June of 2020, Magento 1 reached end-of-life. This put the platform’s 200,000 sites at risk for malware attacks, and opened them up for the potential to incur heavy fines. 

We’ve been urging our Magento 1 customers to either replatform or to install Hostdedi Safe Harbor as a stop gap for PCI compliance. In the meantime, stores on Magento 1 remain vulnerable to attack, and their customers’ data is still at risk.

What Does It Mean When a Platform Reaches End of Life?

Magento 1 has been around a LONG time in software history. For the past 13 years, this platform has been home to hundreds of thousands of online businesses, from growing small businesses, to enterprise level operations.

But after over 10 years of service, Magento 1 has become obsolete, and Magento has shelved the platform for updates. That means their teams will no longer be developing security patches and updates for Magento 1 – the platform will remain stagnant.

Stagnant platforms that aren’t proactively monitored and updated for security do not meet the standards set by the PCI Security Standards Council, and may fall out of compliance as threats to the platform emerge.

Why End of Life Presents a Problem for Compliance

PCI compliance standards were originally set forth by a coalition of banks to ensure that online businesses were proactive about protecting their customers’ data. Using a set of standards, the PCI Security Standards Council keeps online businesses from taking a laissez-faire approach to how they handle online transactions.

The standards for compliance are as follows:

  • Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
  • Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters
  • Protect stored cardholder data
  • Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks 
  • Use and regularly update anti-virus software or programs
  • Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
  • Restrict access to cardholder data by business need to know
  • Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
  • Restrict physical access to cardholder data
  • Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
  • Regularly test security systems and processes
  • Maintain a policy that addresses information security for all personnel

As you can see, all of the above distilled into one lesson comes down to this: if your business is not proactive about security, you will not be PCI compliant. If you’re not PCI compliant, you’re subject to hefty fines and penalties.

What Happens If Your Online Store Isn’t PCI Compliant?

The results of noncompliance are scary. 

It’s not just the right thing to do for your business, it’s the right thing to do for your customers. Running a store on an end-of-life platform can put thousands of people’s data at risk, opening you up to such a high-level of liability that your business might not even survive it.

Fines for noncompliance are typically passed along to the merchant, and can range from anywhere between $5,000 and $100,000 per month until compliance is achieved.

Banks may also choose to terminate their relationship with a noncompliant business, leaving you scrambling to replace your financial institution and payment processor.

Perhaps the most unsettling consequence of all of it is this: the loss of your customers’s trust. Picture them scrambling to protect their own financial information from your site’s security failure. Picture the headlines when the media picks up the story.

It’s not pretty, and it’s completely preventable.

What to Do When You Can’t Afford to Re-Platform

Look, we’re not being heavy handed about this to be jerks about it. This is serious stuff, but we’re also sensitive to the fact that at this point, a migration or replatform isn’t financially realistic for some businesses.

Businesses have struggled during the pandemic. Estimates are that small businesses have seen revenues plummet by a whopping 52% in 2020.

If your business doesn’t currently have the funds for a migration or replatform, you have another option.

Use Safe Harbor for Magento 1 PCI Compliance

A migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000. For only slightly  more than you’re paying for your current Magento 1 hosting plan, Hostdedi Safe Harbor will keep your store secure until you’re ready to re-platform. Safe Harbor is a simple security add-on that uses sophisticated custom security patches from our Magento team to keep stores compliant post end-of-life. 

Current estimates are that Safe Harbor will be able to keep Magento 1 stores secure and compliant well into 2022, giving your company plenty of time to transition to a new platform, or to migrate to Magento 2.

In the wake of Magecart attacks and other security threats that have surfaced since Magento 1 reached end of life back in June, Safe Harbor has continued to protect those stores’ and proactively monitor emerging threats.

Learn More About Safe Harbor

Keep Your Magento 1 Store Security with Magento Experts

Magento’s first beta version was born here on Hostdedi servers. Since 2007, our company has been intimately aware and involved with this platform, and has cultivated technology alongside it that enables developers and businesses to build online businesses to scale.

With a full-time Magento Master on staff, world class 24-hour support, and a dedicated team of sysops engineers and security pros, Hostdedi has your back through your platform’s end-of-life.

Learn More

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Doing Product Pages Right – Hostdedi Blog

How much effort have you put into your product page? Yes, I know you found information and images from the manufacturer and added them. Sure, you named the product and maybe if you were really working on good product pages, you took an extra picture of the product in use to highlight what it really looks like to your customers.

But I know most ecommerce sites don’t even go that far.

About 10 years ago I worked in retail and one of my jobs was to add products to our site, but only after everything else was done and if the boss couldn’t find anything extra for me to do. This was shortsighted and meant that they didn’t see much business from their online store. But if you don’t put any effort into your product pages, the natural outcome is little traction with your site.

It’s important to remember that your online users can’t touch your product. They can’t ask a salesperson a question or get specific feedback on how the product worked for someone they can talk to. Customers are reliant on the information you provide them to help them make a purchase.

Today we’re going to talk about how to design a great product page. Remember, from the product name to the reviews, your product page is a landing page. Its job is to sell your products to your customers.

Product Name

If your product page is a landing and sales page, then the first thing you need to look at is the name of your product. This is the title of your page and you should spend just as much time thinking about this as you would for any blog post you want to rank well in search engines. The more descriptive your product name is, the better it is, at least up to a point.

We’ve all seen ridiculously keyword-stuffed Amazon product titles. We want to use a descriptive product name, but not crossover into the realm of these overloaded titles.

Take a look at these Mpow headphones on Amazon.

If you’re looking for waterproof Bluetooth sports headphones with controls on the headphones, the title is a great match. I think it’s getting close to being a bit long, but just by reading the product name, you get a summary of all the features that the headphones provide.

When you’re looking at your product names use the Google Keyword Planner to investigate what terms are ranking well for your product. Use these terms to help you craft a well-optimized title that will bring customers to your landing page.

Description

When it comes to your product description, the first thing to ask yourself is “what questions will myom customers have”. A description that answers your customer’s questions poorly will mean they make a purchase they’re not happy with. Then they’ll want to return it, and you may get a poor review on the product.

According to Nielsen Group, 20% of missed purchases were because a product didn’t have the information a customer was looking for in the description. If users don’t see the information they’re looking for in your product description, they’re going to turn to Google. That means you risk having them find the product at a better price elsewhere. Making your customers search to get more information is just like losing the purchase and all future purchases from your customer.

As you write your product description ask yourself what questions the customer will have about your product? Your goal is to answer the questions and deflate the objections that customers will have so that they feel confident in their purchase.

Good product descriptions are jargon-free. They’re not heavy on marketing text, but are to the point and clear. If you’re talking about 5 different feature highlights, use bullet points so that readers can scan to get the information they need quickly.

If you’ve got many of the same types of products, say dishwashers, then take the time to standardize the language across suppliers. Don’t list measurements in inches for one product and then centimetres for other products. Standardize on one method, or if you deal with international clients let them choose what measurement they want to see. You can see a great example of this with Apidura Cycling bags. They let users change between inches and centimetres for their bag measurements. This puts their users in control.

Product Images

After your product name and description, it’s important to focus on the images you provide to your customer. Remember, they can’t touch the product. They can’t tell how big it is, or exactly what shade of blue it is. They are relying entirely on you to provide this information with your images.

There are two ways to go with product images. You can choose to use a backdrop with other stuff that matches the product, or you can go with a flat white version. Keep the style consistent including the dimensions used with the final images. I think the best option is to have a combination of both of these options.

Bellroy is a great example of both methods combined. They show you several images of their products on a flat white background. They also add it with known items, like physical bills and blank cards that are the same size as credit cards. You get to see high-quality uncluttered photos to judge colour and texture, then clean photos that help you get an idea of the size of items you’re looking at.

Bellroy also provides high-quality images for each color option for a product. You don’t have to guess based on a color swatch, you can see exactly what you’re choosing as you make changes.

While this may look like a lot of work, it’s just a bit of work and a small investment. You don’t need a fancy camera. Any smartphone in the last few years will do. If you don’t have natural light, then you will need to purchase a consistent light source. You can usually find the Godox SL60W for under $200. If you’re dealing with small products and want to have an extra clean background, then look at a softbox. You can find these on Amazon for as little as $30.

With a light source and a softbox, all it takes is a bit of practice. Take a bunch of test images from different angles. If you spend a weekend playing around you’ll improve greatly so that you can get good images for Monday.

If you’re looking for a great walkthrough on product photography, check out the video below by Peter McKinnon.

Once you’ve got the images, take a few minutes to edit them for color and contrast. Most people use a sized template so that every image on the site is the same size. 

If you’re not sure what this means, it’s like having a company letterhead you always use. In this case, it’s a Photoshop file that’s 2000X2000 and every image you take goes on the same template so that your site images look uniform. 

Then once you have your images on the template looking how you want them, save them out in a web format. Look to keep them under 700kb if possible. To help with this at the final stage you can use tools like Kraken to optimize the images as you upload them.

Putting some effort into your product images will help your store stand above the competition.

Adding To Cart

Next, your add to cart button. There are a few mistakes that many sites make with this crucial interaction. First, make sure that users can see the button without scrolling across all devices. It should be obvious and a contrasting color from the rest of your site so that it stands out. You can see a good example of this on MEC below.

Note that they have a nice product image, and the purchase button is in a vibrant green and stays with the customer as they scroll on a mobile device.

You also need to make sure that it’s clear to the user something happened when they add something to the cart. Luckily WooCommerce has this as a default with a banner being displayed to a user after a product has been successfully added to the cart.

The second most important interaction after your main purchase button may be the option to add a product to a wishlist. A good spot for this is just below the main purchase CTA. I have many wish lists on Amazon for when I’m ready to revamp parts of my office. I already have my desk video setup all picked out in a wishlist. When it’s time to purchase I just need to add all those products to my cart, and then checkout.

Showing your product in use can show how easy it is to use to customers that are concerned about that. Yes, it might mean some duplicate information, but highlight the benefits and deflate the objections with your videos, just like you do with your marketing copy. Some studies suggest that a good product video increases conversion to sale by 84%. Videos are also known to have higher click through rates in search.

You can see this if we head back to Bellroy. The first thing that comes up with their products is a video of their product in use. 

Just like good product photos don’t have to be a huge investment, decent video doesn’t have to be a huge investment. The light I recommended above is a great video light. Your recent smartphone is a decent video camera. Add a lavalier microphone to this setup for $50 and you’ve got a good video setup.

Pricing

When it comes to pricing, it’s pretty straight forward. Make sure you don’t hide any price increases from your users. If the blue version is more expensive, change the price when the user selects the blue version (don’t worry both WooCommerce & Magento do this out of the box). Just under the price is also a good place to add product availability information. Don’t let your customers try to add something to the cart only to find that the product isn’t available in their chosen combination of size and color.

Social Proof: Reviews

Did you know that user reviews are 12 times more powerful at convincing people to purchase than your marketing copy is? That means you need to employ ratings on your site. Display the overall rating, usually stars, at the top near your product title and description. Then after all the product information your customers want, display the reviews you’ve gathered from users.

It’s important to make your reviews filterable, and don’t censor bad reviews. I’ve often read the bad reviews for a product to find the pain points and then purchased because I don’t care about any of the major issues with it.

One great plugin to help enhance the reviews on your site is WooCommerce Product Reviews Pro. This plugin will let you add product photos and user videos to your reviews to supercharge your social proof.

Remember, your product page is a landing page and should be optimized for search engines and to convert visitors to customers. As I said when I talked specifically about mCommerce, make sure that you A/B Test the changes you’re making to your product pages to help ensure that they’re having the effect you expect. If you can put a bit of effort into your product pages, you’ll see big rewards in your sales.

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