Scaling processes represent the response to changes in demand. As demand for a product or service increases, the business needs to increase their capacity to respond effectively by streamlining processes.
E.g. A new eCommerce store has a consistent increase in orders over a couple of months and so decides to outsource logistics and shipping processes so that they can focus more specifically on the website element.
Increases in expenses must be met with a corresponding level of income or injection into marketing campaigns in order to increase profit and ensure consistent liquidity.
At Brown Paper we identify ways to streamline your business operations and identify efficient areas to outsource operations. We have a list of affiliates we can refer you to for ongoing services depending on your needs.
Social media marketing is promotion through social networking websites. It has become much more effective than traditional marketing and is steadily increasing; television viewership has halved since 2002*.
It’s essentially about creating dynamic and engaging content which compels [or encourages] readers to share articles on various social channels. As it is promoted by visitors and customers – it circulates around the web and subsequently brand recognition rises, driving more sales and revenue.
There are various ways to harness the power of social media marketing. It is important to:
- Research and collect data to better understand customers and current trends via various social media channels
- Analyse results and customer behaviour so that website content can be directed to a specific audience
- Strategically integrate content into your website, CRM system, email and other marketing systems
Brown Paper offers a service where this is done for you. We research, analyse and integrate social media marketing into your website. It is available as an ongoing service or as part of a website package.
Omni-Channel retailing represents the fusing of online and offline shopping. It is the logistical system of how a business manages an e-commerce store in addition to a physical store, with regards to customer orders. Two examples of Omni-Channel retailing are:
- Buying a product online and picking it up in a store [saves on shipping time]
- Buying a product in a store and returning it online [saves a trip to the store]
Many businesses do not accommodate for these scenarios, although as time goes on companies are adapting their systems. Clear and concise logistics and supply chain management are needed in order to be successful.
Omni-Channel retailing refers to the entire consumer shopping experience both online and offline. It’s about all methods of purchasing a product including catalogues and subscriptions, computers, bricks-and-mortar, tablets, and phones.
Increasingly, customers are researching a product and its reviews and then going in-store to see the physical item. Customers then compare [from their research] which store [either online or offline] has the lowest price and will purchase direct from them. Having both an online and offline presence can therefore be advantageous if both channels are integrated efficiently to best serve the customer.
eBay is one of the largest online marketplaces that exists.
It facilitates the buying and selling of new and used goods between people across all continents and countries around the world. It is used by established businesses, manufacturers and individuals; essentially anyone can sign up for an account. Goods can be sold by auction (with the option to put a minimum reserve) or by fixed price.
The interaction between a buyer and a seller is recorded by a feedback system. Each reviews the transaction quality and efficiency, and rates based on this [both a written and star system]. If a user receives three strikes [from failing to pay etc.] their account is voided.
eBay is linked to PayPal [they are the same company] so payment is incredibly secure and fraud-free. However there are often other payment options available; bank deposit or cash on pick up, depending if the item can be posted or not. Postage rates are determined by the seller [either courier rates or Australia Post].
CRM = Customer Relationship Management
CRM involves a series of elements surrounding the interaction between a customer and a company, both in sales and services scenarios. It relates to the entire relationship journey with a customer; directly and indirectly with regards to their overall experience.
CRM comprises of recording the communications that take place between a company and a customer – problems, resolutions, queries, personal details and any other significant data. As well as managing current customers and keeping them happy, it’s about targeting and relating to potential customers.
There are a bunch of CRM systems on the market which allow companies to do various functions depending on the size and flow of their work. Many interfaces allow tracking systems which enable the recording of emails, phone calls, deals, leads, appointments, progress reports, and logging results of contact with the customer. In addition to this, some support integration with social media [Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.].
Etsy is an online marketplace full of unique hand-made and vintage items from around the world. It enables a direct interaction between people [both buyers and sellers] across various international locations.
Vintage items are required to be over 20 years old. Products vary from crafts, jewellery, fabrics, clothing, and homewares to art and event decorations and supplies. Etsy is a creative hub where new as well as established artists and designers can get their work and name out to a global audience.
Listings are set at $0.20 [per listing] with 3.5% of the total sale price going to Etsy. It is a B Corporation certified company, emphasising a socially sustainable focus [similar to that of fair trade companies].
Cloud computing provides the tools for additional computing power; storage facilities for websites, applications and media; group collaboration and file exchange. Not only can all be stored online but they are also accessible from any location at any time via computer, tablet, iPhone or Android device.
Cloud computing also includes SaaS [software as a service] as well as plugins and online infrastructure. It can be scaled up or down as needed and is used on a pay-as-you-go system. It is flexible and extremely useful if running or storing large media applications or web plugins. It also provides additional security as backups are conducted regularly and data is encrypted to ensure information is secure.
Freshbooks is a cloud computing software program for all things accounting related. Designed for the small business crowd, it’s simple to use, can be accessed from anywhere via computer, tablet, iPhone or Android device, and is super-efficient.
Freshbooks has combined a bunch of helpful time-saving tools for both the newbie and experienced accounting user. Tools include:
- Time tracking
- Online payments
- Automatic expense importing [from a credit card/bank account]
- Online invoicing and expense tracking
- Accounting reports
- Tax information
All information is encrypted and secure, and is backed up to several datacentres.
MYOB is a management system which streamlines many administrative related business areas and organises them so that businesses [both small and large] can be more efficient and productive.
Areas they specialise in:
- Accounting [software]
- Payroll [software]
- Career management
- Tax advice
- CRM [customer relationship management]
- Retail POS
Businesses can select specific areas applicable to their circumstances and needs [with room to upgrade or downgrade]. Payments vary depending on services selected with both one off payments and month-by-month plans.
Customer support is available with extended hours offered: 6am-midnight.
Shopify POS facilitates the merging of an online store with a bricks and mortar store. It is an iPad application which creates simplicity for retailers by managing products and processing payments in store without the need for a cash register. However, Shopify does have a cash drawer, receipt machine and scanner available for purchase if needed.
eCommerce owners can manage stock levels with ease as both the online and physical store inventory is synced. Rather than have two separate processes and electronic systems, Shopify POS integrates it all for you. It also works with existing EFTPOS machines to process debit and credit payments [Visa, Mastercard and AMEX].
The Shopify POS application makes it easier for businesses to track revenue levels as sales data [from both from the physical and online store] is integrated on the one platform. Detailed analytics are provided to track customer purchasing patterns with ease.
An online merchant account is where an eCommerce store has an account with a bank which facilitates the processing of credit and debit cards via the internet.
There are various banks and merchant providers which offer these accounts [e.g. PayPal, NAB, CommBank etc.]. Each has separate cost structures including monthly, transaction and discount rate fees.
An online merchant account is vital to all eCommerce businesses. Without it the business wouldn’t be able to conduct the transfer of payments for goods and services.
Conversion optimisation is basically the visual cues on a webpage which drive people to buy products. Any area on a page which is a call to action falls under the banner of conversion optimisation.
There are a variety of elements which can measure the conversion optimisation of a webpage:
- Number of form fields
- Contrasting button colour for call to action [i.e. register now]
- Text which encourages a call to action rather than commanding it
- Make content action oriented [purposeful]
Conversion optimisation is extremely important for any website but even more so for eCommerce sites as sales are closed primarily by the ADD TO CART button. If it’s not clear or the webpage doesn’t direct the customer to acting, fewer leads will be converted to sales. Specificity is crucial – too many form fields will result in visitors leaving the site. Focus on a direct and specific call to action.
For assistance with conversion optimisation or to get your site set up with a persuasive call to action which effectively drives sales, simply check out our awesome packages here at Brown Paper.
A sales funnel is a helpful analysis tool which represents the pattern of customer behaviour with regards to sales. The sales funnel is similar to a typical funnel which is wide at the top and narrow at the base – a metaphor for the entire sales process.
The sales funnel symbolises the wide spectrum of people who initially express interest in a product, but as the journey progresses, many drop off for a variety of reasons. The narrow end of the funnel represents the remainder of the people who actually purchase the product [end users].
Analysis of the sales funnel is significant as it can show at what point people are deciding not to purchase a product and why this is so. Further research can then be undertaken to put effective processes in place to reduce loss of potential customers and to maximise final sales.
Observing and understanding the sales funnel is extremely valuable as it helps to:
- Predict customer behaviour
This allows funds, efforts and strategies to be put in place to target high-return customers who are most likely to purchase products.
Here at Brown Paper we offer Business System Analysis as part of a larger package. It involves a detailed study of your current business model or plan, broken down to see exactly what is going on and different strengths or weaknesses.
We analyse the relationships between different departments or employees and highlight areas which need clear communication channels. For example, marketing and IT departments need to interact effectively so that the website functions properly and the content engages visitors simultaneously.
Webmaster Tools is a free program by Google which helps the average online user understand various aspects about the structure of their website and any issues that are arising due to complications or errors with navigation and content. It shows:
- How visitors came to find the site
- Issues with plugins, content, applications or media
- More detailed analytics
- If the website has been penalised
It can be very helpful as it identifies and informs you of when your website may be down or failing to function properly or at its best from an analytics perspective.
eBusiness Masterminds are half day sessions with the eCommerce experts here at Brown Paper. We will start with a needs analysis and review of your current business operations, with a view of integrating online. Includes:
- Analysis of marketing structures
- Exploration of niches to target
- Gathering of resources and requirements to start your online project
- Internal workshop
- Explain the process of establishing an online business and our different package elements
- Review of needs
- Detailed step-by-step plan and outline
Most Brown Paper packages contain two eBusiness Masterminds. Find out more about Brown Paper’s eCommerce packages.
A Blogger Outreach Program involves analysis of a series of metrics which will inform you as to which websites to advocate and link with as an eCommerce store.
It’s important to firstly identify the influence of the blogger or affiliate. Researching their statistics is an important element of this including:
- Website traffic
- Social following
- Brand relevance
- Links with other websites
- Visual layout and overall success of website [including response to content]
Once data has been analysed then it needs to be compiled in a comparison document outlining strengths and weaknesses of each, including costs and other factors. Website analytics will also help with this. Successful bloggers should be contacted, and the results of their overall influence [i.e. promotion] recorded and measured.
Here at Brown Paper we [the eCommerce experts] can do this for you and take the stress out of it all. We will present the findings to you and recommend bloggers based on our comprehensive research.
An email template is an html coded document which renders emails for all receivers, used to create consistency with e-newsletters. Website design and features can be incorporated into the template – including logos, text, format, social media and photos.
Mail Chimp offers their own email templates for use which allow small tweaks and changes. Brown Paper will design a personally customised template for your website and provide you with the coding so that you can adjust changes down the track. We will tailor it to your specific website design so that your customers can easily identify your emails and e-newsletters. We will also include:
- Clear call to action
- Visually appealing layout [concise and planned structure]
- Links to social media [including like and share buttons]
- Mobile integration
Google Places is a feature which allows businesses to list their store information. This includes opening hours, shop address, phone number and also images. It is a great way to get known by potential customers through Google and also increase organic traffic to your site.
Google offers both free and premium accounts. The free account allows businesses to list information which will appear on Google Maps and Search, while the premium account works similarly to adwords. Businesses with a premium account can have their ad appear in the top of Google Search with clear links and buttons to contact, visit website or find store information.
It is easy to change the information from the Google Places dashboard. For any business of any size it can be a highly valuable tool to reach other audiences and demographics, especially local ones.
A subscription offer is an email that is automatically [e.g. through MailChimp] sent out to the people who sign up for an e-newsletter list. It is an important point of engagement and is a significant step to building a relationship with your customers.
Here at Brown Paper as part of a package or as a one-off service we can create and design your email subscription offer with optimised content so that it attracts and encourages customers to take action [either through a sales discount, special offer or otherwise].
Google Shopping is an online service where people can browse products from a variety of eCommerce sites. It was initially a free service where online vendors could list their products for sale but since late 2012 it has become a paid advertising service, similar to Google Adwords.
In order to list products on Google Shopping, eCommerce stores are required to place a bid for an ad. Search results are a combination of highest bidder and relevance.
Google Merchant Centre is an online account which companies [or individuals] can use to incorporate all the products they already sell online into Google’s feed. When people search for specific keywords, products then surface within the results [with images].
However, not all results contain images of items to buy and when they do, it is very competitive as there are countless retailers trying to maximise their chance of showing up as a result. This is because within the portion of text, images are very obvious and draw attention.
Extended product ads are product listings from Google Shopping. It is a CPC [cost-per-click] system and products are displayed in a feed on the right of search results in Google. Each product appears as an image with a price, description and link to the specific website.
It works similarly to Google Adwords.
However, instead of a highlighted banner ad at the top of the search bar, actual products for sale are shown. It is a strategic way of positioning for traffic which originates from a buying attitude rather than information search traffic.
In order to set up Product Listing Ads, both Merchant Centre and Google Adwords accounts must be connected.
Content marketing is a form of advertising [or promotion] which is very different to traditional methods. It involves a relationship between a website and a customer which is nurtured and grown over time by providing great informative content which is valuable and relevant to the end user.
The effectiveness of regular advertising via visual media on television, billboards, website banners and links is rapidly subsiding with this new breed of marketing taking its place. Consumers are increasingly attracted to helpful and applicable content which broadens and expands their knowledge base.
Content marketing is focused on building a relationship with customers by delivering engaging and relevant copy tailored to a specific audience. This then drives the customer to return the service by investing in a product or service produced by generators of great and useful information.
Purchasing a product online is increasingly about the entire experience and intangible benefits and services. It’s a continual process which develops and grows over time.
Google Keywords is a tool used to optimise relevant website content so that it corresponds with user search terms. In addition to writing interesting and engaging copy, keywords need to be adhered to somewhat so that Google can order your website within its search parameters.
Keywords are either singular words or phrases and are either commonly [high search volume/competition] or rarely [low search volume/competition] searched for in Google.
In order for keywords to be constructively used within content there needs to be thought of what potential customers are searching for. Which purchasing audience does your website want to attract? Once you find this audience and their relevant keyword searches, content can be structured advantageously.
However, specificity is important here as being overly specific with regards to phrasing will end up in too few search leads, while having overly general keywords will result in your website getting lost in the masses. Find keywords that are high in terms of search volume but low in competition and then integrate these strategically within website content. This results in more effective and cost-efficient SEO.
B2B = Business-To-Business
B2B is the purchasing interaction between businesses. The seller is a business; the buyer is a business. This interaction is commonly represented between different manufacturers; manufacturers and wholesalers; wholesalers and retailers; retailers and business customers.
Goods are usually purchased in large quantities and later resold either on their own or in another product form (i.e. flour is bought in large quantities for a baker to then make bread and sell to the public or cafes).
B2C = Business-To-Consumer
B2C is the purchasing interaction between retailers and [public] customers. Customers are generally individuals who might only purchase one item. B2C more recently refers to online retailing, labelled ‘e-tailing’ (electronic retailing). It includes the revenue produced from selling goods or services via advertising or subscription systems (e-newsletters; YouTube subscribers).
This is a system in place to fulfil the orders received from customers. Once an order is placed – what are the necessary steps to deliver the good or service to the customer? Is ongoing support or service needed?
Order fulfilment generally involves a series of steps:
- Efficiently and correctly deliver the good or service to the customer
- Update customer records (either manually or electronically)
- Invoice customer for payment (keep a record)
- Promptly resolve complaints and answer queries – provide good customer service
- Analyse customer data and purchase patterns to tailor marketing campaigns accordingly
Inventory management is the process with which a business organises and controls its inventory or stock. It may be a manual or computerised system depending on the type and structure of the business.
From a simplified level, it involves receiving an order from a customer, having stock available to fulfil the order, invoicing the customer and replenishing stock as required. Businesses which have a higher turnover rate will potentially order more stock or inventory at a time than businesses which have a lower turnover.
A shopping cart has a similar function to a normal shopping cart or trolley, but it is used online on eCommerce sites. It allows customers to add items to their cart which they can then purchase at an online checkout.
People who visit an eCommerce website (e.g. Amazon) can search products and ‘add to cart’ the items that they either wish to buy now or at a date in the future. It allows visitors to create a virtual list of the products they like which they are not obliged to purchase but can do so if they wish.
Upon checking out, customers are able to select postage details with some websites offering gift wrapping and different levels of postage cover.
There are different companies which offer shopping cart platforms where the cart is integrated into the website and hosted for you. These include Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Volusion etc.
PayPal is a third party merchant service that allows the transfer of payments or funds without the need for a payment gateway (see above). It is a secure service protected by SSL so all data is encrypted and virtually impossible to intercept.
PayPal provides insurance should any transactions be intercepted and data be stolen or lost. However this should never happen given the security of PayPal (they conduct thousands of transactions daily). Customers are redirected to PayPal once they checkout which may or may not be desirable for your site.
A payment gateway enables a connection between a website and a bank which allows the instantaneous transfer of funds into an account. This is usually for the payment of goods or services to a website, or to transfer funds between bank accounts (employers etc.). It is in real-time.
It provides a secure connection between a customer, a bank, and the website (company), through the use of an SSL certificate. The bank communicates whether the transfer of funds between the customer and the website was successful.
SSL stands for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’. When entering information online through form submission (i.e. banking) the connection can sometimes be insecure. So there is a possibility that the connection can be intercepted and personal information used by external parties.
SSL is a way of securing the site so that this doesn’t happen. The data is encrypted before it is sent so that if intercepted by a third party it cannot be read or used. SSL means that it is effectively impossible to have data stolen and interpreted. Once the information arrives to the specific destination (i.e. NAB receives your account details for a bank transfer) the information can be decrypted and read.
An SSL certificate is an essential component of any eCommerce site as it fosters a secure payment connection which is essential when selling goods or services online. SSL certificates range in price but can be quite expensive and tedious, especially to those newly acquainted with eCommerce.
SEO = ‘Search Engine Optimisation’.
It’s basically the process of organising content and links on your website so that you get organic and free traffic from Google. There are certain factors at play both on page and off page which determine your website’s ranking in Google.
SEO is a process which takes consistent time and particular attention to Google Keywords which have high search volume and low competition. Links to other sites are important as is their linking to your site.
A startup is essentially a commercial venture which is embarked upon.
It is a business which is in a beginning or development stage and is a scalable business model. Startups are generally more online or web-based – they are not just ‘small businesses’. A startup is generally the initial 12-month period of a new business. Growth is central to startups as this is the primary factor which can dictate failure or success.
Drop-shipping is where products are packaged and delivered direct to the consumer from the manufacturer. The products bypass the retailer.
It eliminates the need for retailers to hold stock and removes the shipping process from manufacturer to retailer. It is a more time and cost efficient process, however complications may arise in regards to quality control.
Drop-shipping is effectively a partnership between a wholesaler and a retailer (business). The wholesaler manages the stock/products and the retailer sends through the order and shipping details to fulfil the transaction.
Private label shipping means that retailers can drop-ship without the customer being aware of it.
At Brown Paper we offer a range of ongoing services which provide continued support and service either for a series of eCommerce areas or even just one. We can also refer you to a bunch of helpful people and sites which provide site tweaks, SEO support, email marketing, social media scheduling, order management and much more.
We see our customers as incredibly valuable and want to continue partnering with them for the entire eCommerce journey. We won’t leave them high and dry but are here always to answer questions, provide support and help our customers out if they’re stuck in a jam. Even if it’s just a site review to check everything is functioning ok and looking well, we can help.
Keyword competition research involves measuring and investigating the level of difficulty for ranking in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) for a specific keyword. This will fluctuate depending on the sector or industry related to the keyword, as well as the number and quality of businesses participating.
Google Keyword Planner allows users to research specific search terms and find data related to those terms. Data includes the number of monthly searches for a keyword, advertising prices for Google Adwords and average competition (low, medium, high) – ease of ranking in Google’s top pages. The specificity of keyword also contributes to competition and price factors.
- I.e. generally, more specific keywords bring about less competition; broad keywords result in greater competition.
Brown Paper offers a membership forum where users are able to find answers to their specific questions, help with website elements and tweaks, online tutorials and personal eCommerce support and accountability.
Additionally, other members can offer their advice, tricks, and tips which can help save time and help cut corners. Everyone who is part of the forum is based in eCommerce, from beginners to experts – so there is always a fresh perspective on offer.
It is a great way to brainstorm and network with other eCommerce users and websites to boost sales and affiliates, on and off page SEO and email subscribers.
POS stands for Point Of Sale or Point Of Service.
It refers to the time and place where the customer delivers payment for the exchange of a good or service.
Point of Service has become a more modern adaptation of Point of Sale as it encompasses the entire service relationship – including repeat customers and orders.
It can also mean the software or hardware [equipment] used at the POS. So in a retail store or restaurant this would include the register which processes the transaction, EFTPOS machine, scales, scanners, and receipts. As well as the front of house elements, POS can refer to inventory management or fulfilment systems, CRM [customer relationship management], and financial records etc.
Comparison shopping is what the title alludes to – shopping whilst comparing products. Rather than just purchasing a product direct from one retailer, there are certain websites which research products and their prices and organise the information clearly so that the customer can easily see which retailer is offering the lowest price. Products are categorised and detailed information [price, brand, and retailer] is displayed alongside an image.
In addition to finding the cheapest price, other information may be important to specific visitors. This may include store information, product location and as well as item quality and supplier reputation. These can be very beneficial directories to be listed in as an online retailer, as it can help boost sales and increase brand recognition within the market.
Some are also tailored to specific demographics and niches.
A plugin is a portion of software code [basically an add-on or extension] which enables certain elements of a webpage to load. Plugins are available for all different applications on a website, and can also be added to a new or existing one.
Plugins allow more complex site content to be displayed and function properly [e.g. animations and games] which may not have been possible otherwise.
Plugins are generally free downloads provided by certain software providers [they might prompt a download their plugin upon landing on their site]. Some can be malware however if it is from a trusted provider and a program which you will use it is worthwhile downloading the plugin. A quick online search will reveal the reputation and/or quality of the plugin.
Examples of popular plugins include: Adobe Flash Player, Macromedia Flash Player, Quicktime Player and Acrobat Reader [for PDFs].
A landing page is a webpage which centres around getting a visitor to enter their details into a form. It aims to convert leads into sales – visitors enter in their information and the website provides them with something in return [e.g. an e-newsletter subscription or discount].
For a webpage to be a landing page it must contain a form and there must be a concentration on gathering information from visitors [through the form].
A landing page generally has minimal distractions. There is usually some writing [copy] but it is organised so that the form is highlighted and easy to see and read.
An about page is a page on a website where the company illustrates:
- Who they are
- What their core focus is
- Where they’re located
- About the team and/or history of the business
It can include various other snippets of interesting or helpful information. It doesn’t have to be restricted to just text but can also include videos and images. However, we recommend keeping written content high and not overloading the page with media in order to have a faster page load time and for SEO purposes.
This message indicates that the page someone searched for or clicked on could not be found. This can be because the URL was incorrectly typed or because you have changed the permalink on your site without setting it up so that the page redirects. Or it could be because the page has been deleted.
It’s easy to fix and a bunch of websites customise their error page so that customers don’t leave the website entirely but are redirected to the home page or to contact section.
This is the process of editing, rendering and uploading all product information to a website. Includes:
- Description editing
- Photoshopping of images
This process can often be a hassle especially where images can be the wrong size, resolution and descriptions are not optimised for SEO.
This is a template of a website which is compatible on iPhones and android devices, as well as integrating with tablets. Site Information is rearranged in a much simpler way which enables streamlined browsing on a smaller screened device.
Clear tabs and headings promote ease of use for visitors to the site and allow for quick and problem free online shopping. This helps reduce the loss of visitors and potential customers as they are able to easily browse your products and/or services, especially if pressed for time.
A technical brief is a clear step by step guide which documents the course of action necessary to fix any technical issues or to instruct the processes for a larger project. It contains a plan which describes the specific tasks and which outlines specific responsibilities for employees or those scheduled to work on the project. Additionally, a time frame is set for each task and the objectives which are core to the overall process are distinctly illustrated.
It is similar to a business plan in format. However, instead of focusing on informing those within and outside the company about revenues and the past business cycle and company results, it dictates an explicit process needing to be undertaken in clarity and detail. It is about implementing practical changes to the present business situation with a strong focus on positive future results.
Put simply, eCommerce is the interaction between businesses and consumers through the buying and selling of goods or services. Most eCommerce is B2C however B2B is used as well for wholesaling and drop shipping.
eCommerce is where an electronic transfer of funds takes between a consumer and a website, in exchange for goods or services. It is available 24/7 and from a global platform via the internet.
However, sites like eBay and Etsy have enabled C2C to take place. This is where consumers make a product or post a used item for other consumers to bid on and purchase. C2B can also now take place as consumers are able to outsource work from a company overseas by posting the project online and having companies offer a price to complete it.