Category Archives: business

PayPal Express

The boys who run the WP e-Commerce Plugin website have just published an article on PayPal Express. It does a really good job of explaining what PayPal Express is.

PayPal Express

One of the things we’re working on before launching the next minor WP e-Commerce Plugin update is a PayPal Express Checkout tweak. The user interface was a little tired and in need of a little CSS love.

For those wondering about PayPal Express I just copy and pasted this excerpt from another website.

“PayPal Express takes you from the shopping cart page to PayPal where you enter your address & credit card details; this automatically signs you up for a PayPal account (whether you want one or not), then you are taken back to the seller’s website where you select your correct shipping option. Clicking the confirm order button here will send the shipping details back to PayPal where they then adjust the total amount payable and debit your account.

The good thing about this payment system is that it is fast, easy and does not require the seller to record or store buyer’s credit card details (which would need SSL).

PayPal have also just changed their ‘Express’ payment method so that the customer now has the option of just paying with just their credit card, or saving their payment details with PayPal and opening a PayPal account (the same as PayPal standard). This has made PayPal Express much more attractive as a payment option.”

This is encouraging and while PayPal do not support PayPal Payments Pro in New Zealand perhaps we will explore using this on our own website as an alternative to PayPal Payment Standard.

» Read More information on PayPal Express Checkout


ShopperPress Plugin

When you compare ShopperPress next to Yak or WP e-Commerce it doesn’t take you long to figure out the authors of this Plugin are more bark then they are bite. The themes are less then appealing and the features are lacking many fundamental e-Commerce features that are expected in this day and age (for example just compare the shipping options available in each of these Plugins).

One must compliment the authors on their marketing talk. Unfortunately their walk don’t talk. Our recommendation, at least for the foreseeable future is to stick with the Plugins that pack the most punch and takes the biggest bite and for your online business we reccomend you use the WP e-Commerce Plugin or the Yak Plugin.

WP e-Commerce on WP 2.8

Dan Milward from Instinct just sent through this link:

This link demonstrates the WP e-Commerce Plugin working on a WordPress 2.8 + website. We really like how fast it runs and we’re looking forward to the full release. Good work guys and its nice to know that you like the Transformers too!!

Shopp underwhelms

The latest Shopp 1.0.6 update totally underwhelms. We’ve had a play and after a quick look at the full feature list we have nothing really interesting to report back asisde from the obvious and necessary modifications for WordPress 2.8 compatibility.

In order of preference our WordPress e-Commerce Plugin reccomedations are still as follows:

  1. WP e-Comemrce
  2. Yak
  3. eShop Plugin
  4. Shopp

eBay and Amazon directors to speak at Catalyst UK

“Hitting high growth on the world’s online marketplace” will be the topic for Mark Lewis, eBay UK MD, when he speaks at ChannelAdvisor Catalyst next month. Unsurprisingly the eBay session where Mark spoke last year was one of the most well attended sessions, and one at which he announced free gallery and the move towards lower cost insertion fees. I’d expect it to be equally well attended this year, eBay haven’t made any platform or pricing changes so far in 2009 but if there are any in the pipeline I’d expect to Mark give a preview.

Read More

Tips to Improve Online Retail Sales

An old article from that deserves some fresh attention.

So, you want to improve your online sales. But generating higher online sales this holiday season could be a tough task due to the sluggish economy. This time around, it will be a challenge to lure people to shop. Many online shoppers will be looking for better deals, better offers and other sound benefits before making purchases.

Out there in the Internet marketspace, many retailers persuade users and sell their products by offering convenient offers and affordable options. Online retailing is truly a dog eat dog world, online retailers have to provide a better and a favorable shopping experience during these tough times if they do not want fall out of the race.

Let me quickly walk you through some tips that could help your online store get more visibility, traffic and sales. But, all these tips and tricks are subject to testing, you never know which trick would result in conversion, unless you test it.

  • Do a basic SEO
  • Don’t Ignore PPC
  • Get Listed in CSEs
  • Offer Comprehensive Product Information
  • Provide “The Touch Factor”
  • Look and Feel with holiday flavor
  • Product Reviews
  • Work on Pricing Module
  • Provide Offers and Benefits
  • Cross Sell the Right Products
  • Don’t forget Cross-Channel Shoppers
  • Checkout Process
  • Delivery Time Matters
  • Provide Effective e-Communication Option

Do a Basic SEO:

Basic Search engine optimization can do wonders, as it would bring good amount of traffic to your online store. So, what’s included in Basic SEO? Page title, Meta description, unique product contents, heading, clear cut site navigation, static URL, image optimization, and Back link from relevant websites. I recommend you to follow these posts to understand more about ecommerce SEO. Don’t employ any black hat techniques to win over search engine placements.

Don’t Ignore PPC Marketing:

Pay per Click marketing is one of the surest ways to get targeted traffic to your web store. It is advisable to conduct PPC campaign for your new products, top selling products, gift items, promotional products and so on. You can start your PPC marketing campaign either with Google Ad words, or Yahoo Search marketing. There are number of free coupons for Google ad words that are available, you may consider getting them to test your campaign. Some web hosting companies may provide you with these coupons as promotional offers with their domain and hosting solutions.

Get Listed In Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs):
Getting your product catalog listed in shopping channel is one of the finest internet marketing strategies to pull in traffic to your web store. To start with CSE marketing campaign, you can list popular or top selling products to some of the free comparison engine websites like Google product search, live product search, etc. Before starting a full-fledged campaign, it is imperative to understand the complexities and data feed requirement formats of each CSE and prepare them accordingly.

Offer Comprehensive Product Information:

Online buyers don’t just buy products randomly through the Internet; they conduct careful online research about the product before making a final purchase. Since an online shopper does not get the opportunity to touch and feel the product; therefore the retailer has to compensate this by providing as much information as possible about the product with effective call-to-actions to persuade the shopper to buy. Lack of product information gives shoppers a chance to navigate to other sites, thereby decreasing the probability of returning to your site and hence resulting in a lost sale.

So, what constitutes a good online product catalog?

  • Product Name
  • Product Images…
  • Product description (long and short description) with clear cut marketing message and call-to-actions
  • Highlight product features and benefits,
  • Product specifications,

Below is a good example of a product page…

Provide Product Reviews:

As a part of gathering more information about the product, online shoppers tend to look at user reviews to know the effectiveness of the product. And sometimes, these reviews influence online shoppers to purchase the product or not. Allow your online shoppers to review the products you sell.

Provide “The Touch Factor”:

One major disadvantage in online shopping is that buyers cannot touch or feel the product physically. The best way to overcome this drawback is to provide high quality product picture. A better idea is to provide multiple product pictures in different views and angles along with the context of use.

Below is a good example for your reference...

Also watch the video interview of conversion expert Bryan Eisenberg explains about the importance of product image and optimization techniques. Thanks to Sir Wilson of “Web Marketing Today” for conducting such a great interview.

Look and Feel with holiday flavor:

Retailers should be flexible enough to add new fresh holiday graphics/pictures in their web store. As an online retailer, you should be aware of each holiday occasions and re-design or add specific occasion pictures or graphics to enhance the overall site design and shopper’s shopping experience.

Work on Pricing Module:

Effective marketing and advertisements are not the only key mantra to improve your online sales. Pricing is one of the obvious factors which influence online buyers while making buying decisions. The strategy here is not to under price or over price the product you sell, but to offer a competitive and reasonable price for your products. It is advisable to analyze various online marketplaces to understand the prices quoted for your products and make adjustments accordingly.

Offer Unique Benefits:
Offer unique benefits to online buyers to grab their attention. Do not just offer the benefits in terms of product price. You should also include offers, like discounts, coupons, free gifts, free shipping, etc. These factors will entice online buyers to shop more. Here is a clear data for the term “Free Shipping” from Google search trend tool.

From the below graph you can identify that there has been a steady growth in the consumer expectation for the term “free shipping”.
Cross/Up sell smartly:

Cross/Up selling is one the best ways to make additional sales. You have to cross sell only those products that are more or less related to the products that a customer has already bought. It is wise to suggest a photo printer rather than an MP3 when a customer buys a digital camera. On the other hand, you can up-sell items that are not related to the product that the customer has bought, Example: Free Shipping on orders that exceed $200.

Don’t forget Cross-Channel Shoppers:
If you are a click and mortar retailer, you should consider serving cross channel shoppers. A cross channel shopper is the one who searches products through internet, reads its reviews, find better deals and makes the final purchase at a retail store.Take a look at the following chart by

Easy Checkout Process:
Most of the online retailers lose sale during the checkout process. If an online shopper is not comfortable with your store’s checkout process, then there is a high chance of shopping cart abandonment.

So, what are the reasons that could force an online shopper to ditch your shopping cart?

  • Hidden Charges
  • Capturing too much of information (lengthy process to complete)
  • Register before buying
  • High shipping cost, etc…

Delivery Time Matters:
Informing an online shopper about when he/she would be getting the product to his/her door step really matters a lot.

Provide Effective E-Communication Option:
One of the finest techniques to grow sales and serve online customers is to provide various forms of e-communication, such as Live Customer Support, FAQ, Phone Support, Email Option, etc… The more options you provide, the more are your chances of earning trust and closing sales.

These are just few great tips that would help a web store owner to improve traffic and sales. If you have tried and tested other tricks, then please feel free to discuss here.

Geek Credits: Web Currencies vs. Local Currencies

In the last couple of years we have seen the rise of local and regional currencies as complementary currency systems. But why do we still focus so much on local currencies in an increasingly interconnected world?


Don’t people think, trade and work increasingly in a cross-border manner? Why should currencies be bound by purely geographic limitations?

Aren’t there any other (perhaps social) structures that could be far more suitable? And why can’t social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn & Co be the perfect levers to bring these ideas into reality? After all, Facebook with its over 150 million global users represents a population greater than many large countries and is still in need for a business model.

How can decentralized financial systems be applied in practice?

In addition to previously blogged Ripplepay (“Social Currencies for You and Your Friends”), Geek Credits is another good example for a currency model in a social context:

“If you provide a service for community (writing free software, providing your band’s mp3s for download, etc) you may ask users to pay you Geek Credits.
You may also pay Geek Credits you received or issued yourself to anyone who agrees to accept them. Issuing a Geek Credit means a commitment to provide some service in the future to the community.”

Aren’t these any less worthwhile (thought) experiments compared to simply staying trapped in a regional/national context? We are looking forward to more examples.