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October/November 2004 Newsletter

Short Cuts

Yahoo has been keeping busy this last month.
They recently updated their Spam Guidelines. They recently updated security issues with the Yahoo Cart. Yahoo has also been hired to host the new website for the TV show The Apprentice.  They purchased MusicMatch earlier this month to keep up with MSN starting their own online music store and now they have given their website a facelift. They have even started their own blog! Seems that Yahoo is tired of being #2 behind Google as the most used search engine.

What does that mean to you as a Yahoo Store Owner? You need to make sure your products are being displayed in Yahoo Search Engines. One easy way to get your site listed in Yahoo is by joining Yahoo Shopping. But, you must make sure that your site has the proper meta tags first!

 

Search Is Still Strong (as reported by emarketer.com)
Almost 85% of US Internet users have said they seek information through search engines, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

As a result, only e-mail ranks as a more popular online activity than the use of search engines (except for the viewing of news sites when there is breaking news). What are the most popular search engines? Unsurprisingly, Google comes out on top as the engine of choice for 47% of respondents, almost twice as many people as those who cited Yahoo! as the engine they used most often. Further, MSN, AOL and AskJeeves trail the two leaders by a large margin. Read the full article

 

Do Email Coupons Really Work?
Studies show that people love to use coupons! Heidi Anderson reports in her recent article that one particular company
began their newsletter in February 2004, with a handful of subscribers. It now has about 3,750 members, with about 100 new subscribers joining each week. About 45 or 50 people sign up through the Feed a Friend promotion weekly. So far, fewer than 60 people have unsubscribed. Read this article to find out how you can do the same for your company.

 

Abandoned Carts are still a huge problem for Online Stores (as reported by emarketer.com)
Consumers are carting items at a slightly higher rate than last year — 9.4% in Q2 2004 compared to 8.3% in Q2 2003 — but cart abandonment rates are higher too.

Consumers abandon over one-half of the shopping carts they fill up while shopping online, reports DoubleClick. In the second quarter of 2004, 57.0% of carts were abandoned, compared to 45.9% one year ago, an increase of 24%. It should be noted, however, that the cart abandonment rate was higher in Q1 2004, reaching 60.3%.  Read the full article

 

CEO Michael Rees of National Payment Processors Inc talks to Internet Retailer About Echecks
“As merchants look for alternatives to credit cards and providing their customers with more payment options, e-checks will become a more popular form for paying for merchandise online,” Rees says. Read the full article

If you are not currently accepting Echeck payments, Bill Dumont at eMerchant Discount can assist you. Mr. Dumont provides Merchant Accounts for many Yahoo Store Owners at excellent rates! 1 Choice 4 YStore customers and newsletter the following rates!

 

Get More Traffic!

Five Reasons To Submit to Shopping Search Engines

The shopping season starts soon.  Christmas is only three months away. Can you believe it?

Are you ready?  Do you (or does someone you know) sell products on the Internet?  If so, part of being ready should include shopping search engines.  What are they?  The most popular ones are BizRate, Shopping.com, Froogle, and Yahoo Shopping.  You have probably seen or used them already to research a product you were interested in, to find the best price, or to read opinions.

But are you using them effectively for your products?  If not, why should you now?

Here are five top reasons:

1.  Their Popularity Is Growing Fast

Ask anyone you know about Yahoo Shopping, BizRate, Shopping.com, NexTag or other similar sites.  They will probably say the same thing...  "Oh yeah!  I just recently used a site like that to buy my ___."  I have heard that from almost everyone I know.

To support this, Hitwise (a leading online measurement company) recently reported that these sites are seeing an increasing number of visits.  Interestingly, they are also seeing a corresponding decrease in clickthroughs from search engines.  Why?  It seems as if once people use these sites, they come directly to them the next time.

If people are using these sites more and more, shouldn't you want your products there?

2.  They Advertise For You

Let me put this another way.  Are you tired of handing your wallet to Overture and Google AdWords?  Let the shopping search engines do it for you.

Try this.  Go to Google or Yahoo today and type in camera, digital camera, fabrics, or any other product name.  Many times, BizRate, Shopping.com, or some other shopping search site will show up in the top paid-listing spots.  And you know those terms aren't cheap!

3.  Lower PPC Costs

This is basically a continuation of the previous point.  PPC costs on Overture and Google AdWords are increasing constantly.  How much does a click cost from Froogle?  Nothing!  What about Shopping.com, BizRate, NexTag, and others?  Although it varies, it is frequently less than 15 cents and seldom over 50 cents.

4.  More Qualified Leads

When someone is looking at Google and they click your ad, do they really want to buy what you are offering?  Perhaps.

On the other hand, if someone is on Shopping.com and they click on your ad, what do you think they are doing?  Shopping maybe?  The same holds true for Yahoo Shopping, and the many other similarly named shopping sites.

5.  Start Now To Beat the Competition

Remember the "good ole days" when you could list on Overture for 5 cents for most of your terms?  You probably didn't even check your Return On Investment.  You got plenty of clicks for a great price.

What happened?  Your competition, that's what.

Now you have to pay more and work harder.  Shopping Search Engines is this year what Pay Per Click was a few years ago.  The opportunity is ripe to get started now and the price is right.

So now you want to list your products.  Where do you start?

Begin by doing some searches in the major shopping search engines.  Is anyone else listing the products you offer?  If so, how does your pricing compare?  After all, these sites are not called comparison-shopping sites for nothing.  Many people are looking for the best price.

But price is not everything.  In fact, shoppers are more frequently looking for reputable sites.  So, does your site look reputable?  Does it have good navigation?  Also, be sure to sign up for BizRate's Customer Certified Ratings Program.  If you start now, you can get some positive comments on your site within the next couple of months. Many will choose to pay a little more if the merchant is more reputable.

To get listed, you will need to sign up with each site.  Then follow the instructions.  The process usually includes creating a spreadsheet in a certain format and then submitting it via FTP to the appropriate server.

 

Corey Creed  -  Shopping Search Info  -  http://www.ShoppingSearchInfo.com 

 

 

New Resources for Yahoo Store Owners
 

YSTORE Services Daily Back-up and Data Feed Service
This wonderful new service from YStore Tools will create a daily back up of your Yahoo Store and daily feeds to shopping search engines. These can include Froogle, Dealtime and Bizrate (to name a few) along with your affiliate feeds and other shopping portals. They will provide basically any format you might need and we're adding more every week. They will also provide hosted images which ensures all your images will show with all your feeds (such as Froogle).

Custom Templates NOW! by YTimes
Create a completely custom-built Yahoo! Store / Merchant Solutions template in 24 hours! This e-book shows you how to replace the built-in Yahoo! Store templates with your custom-built design. A step-by-step, generic approach that requires little previous RTML experience.

Web Design Templates
Do you need a professional web design template to install into your Yahoo Store? Choose from thousands of designs and styles. We can assist you install your new design.
 

Yahoo Store Tip

A Completed About Us Page Can Help Increase Your Sales
When we redesign websites we often find that many people neglect the information page. This is the most important page of your website. Let me say this again since it is very important. The information page is your most important page. Leave this page empty and most times you will find your conversion rates empty as well. When you update this page, ask yourself one thing - When I buy online, what information do I want to see? Shoppers know there is fraud online. They hear about it on the news and as time goes on and fraud occurs more frequently (scary thought) people will look more and more at your informational pages. They need to feel secure before giving you their credit card. Give them a reason to buy from you instead of your competitor. Give them several ways to contact you in case they have a problem with their order. Most people want to see that they can get a hold of you if they need to. This gives your customers piece of mind.

We run across several owners that work a "day job" and can not answer their phones during the day. So they do not place any contact information at all. This can be a huge mistake.

Here are some tips to setting up a Customer Service Phone Line even when you are not available to answer the phones:

1. Outsource a Customer Service Company such as Inland Answering or have a friend or relative handle customer service phone calls.

2. Explain on your website that during the day you are in the warehouse processing orders and all phone calls are returned after 6PM. Inform your customers that for faster results they can email you and you will get back to them within 12 hours (make sure you get back to them within this time frame).

3. Set up a FAQ page on your website. Make sure to include how to place orders. When customers call make sure your voice mail message includes your website and how to find the FAQ page. Let your customers know in the voice mail when they can expect to receive phone calls back. Give them your email address as well as an option to use to ask their questions.



 

Recently Added Articles

Does Your Company Need A Toll Free Number? - A very good article to read if you do not presently have a Toll Free Number on your site.

Your Alexa Rating - Is It Really That Important? - If you are concerned about your Rating, read this article.

10 Secrets To Online Success (its All About The Customer)- Great advice on customer service

Ten Marketing Pitfalls - If you are looking at expanding your marketing, read this first.

Graphic Design Using Color - Great article on color and emotions

Seven Logos To Avoid - Read this before getting your next logo. Speaking of logos, check out 1 Choice 4 Logos. A new site for our customers!
 

 





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October/November 2004 Newsletter

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