Shopify or Amazon: Which Is Right For You?

Shopify or Amazon: Which Is Right For You?

Whether you want to sell through an online marketplace or sell on a hosted or self-hosted platform, there’s no shortage of options.  But there’s no universal fit when it comes to the best ecommerce platform.

Which is the best ecommerce platform for you: Shopify? Or Amazon?

7 Product Description Tips For Your Shopify Store

7 Product Description Tips For Your Shopify Store

Product descriptions tell your customers exactly what they’re looking at and why it’s the best product for them. While they don’t have to be award-winning pieces of literature, they do require some forethought. Here are 7 tips to help you make engaging Shopify product descriptions!

7 Ways You Can Optimize Your Shopify Store

7 Ways You Can Optimize Your Shopify Store

Shopify allows for countless options when it comes to the setup of your store. Combine that with its intuitive nature and emphasis on functionality, and you have a potent platform you can optimize for maximum success!

Here are 8 ways to optimize your Shopify store and customize it to achieve maximum success for you and your business!

Amazon Success Guide: 8 Things To Boost Your Sales

Amazon Success Guide: 8 Things To Boost Your Sales

Amazon is a titan in the world of ecommerce.  With so many people turning to this giant of an online marketplace to sell their goods, Amazon breeds an arena ripe with competition and profitability.

Here are 8 tips you can use to increase your own profits on Amazon and pave the way to success!

Microsoft May Be Joining The Ecommerce Game

Microsoft ecommerce

There are plenty of options available when it comes to ecommerce platforms, all of which fit various needs and business types.  The world of ecommerce is very expansive and accommodating, with no signs of slowing down in its growth.

And that’s why Microsoft may be looking to throw its hat into the ecommerce arena.

Shopify is currently one of the largest and most successful ecommerce platforms out there, offering tons of valuable services and features for customers at a reasonable price.  

It offers the ability to create a well-designed, easy to use, functional website with tons of products in a relatively short amount of time.

It allows for many convenient payment methods as well as easy social media integration, domain creation (and hosting), as well as content managing and marketing tools.  

While Microsoft already has a lot to offer in the way of ecommerce through its Dynamics line, creating a competing platform is something “we’re looking at very seriously” according to Shelly Bransten, the vice president of retail and consumer goods at Microsoft.  

Microsoft definitely sees the potential (and the profit) that could come with this service, as she also states that many of their customers are asking for them to make one.

While many ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Squarespace are immensely successful and used by many ecommerce businesses, they aren’t quite able to reach enterprise-scale customers, leaving a sizeable field for Microsoft to take advantage of.

4 Ways Your Shopify Ecommerce Business Can Benefit From Social Media

shopify ecommerce social media

The world we live in today is digitally dominated.  

People spend hours buried in their phones or computer browsing the internet, connecting with friends halfway across the globe, and shopping, all from the comfort of their home.  

Online shopping has risen dramatically in popularity, with the world of ecommerce becoming more and more diverse and competitive. While people may not initially equate any sort of relationship between the ever popular world of social media and the expansive realm of ecommerce, they both benefit each other tremendously.  

Shopify especially allows for social media to easily integrate into your store, making it a great platform for businesses aiming to take advantage of the social media front.  

Here’s 4 ways that social media can benefit your Shopify ecommerce business.

1.)   Social Media Can Act As A Great Storefront

People spend a lot of time on social media.  Whether they’re catching up with friends, following their favorite celebrity, or even following an interest or hobby, social media grabs and holds a large amount of people’s attention.  

That makes for an ideal arena when it comes to the world of ecommerce, and offers a great opportunity to get your target audiences’ attention right now instead of dragging them to your site.  

Shopify offers pretty painless integration when it comes to major social media outlets, including a Shop tab in your Facebook page, the option to turn your products’ Pins into Buyable Pins on Pinterest, and a Buy Now button added to tweets regarding your products on Twitter.

2.)  Social Media Is A Great Way To Connect With Your Customers

Have we emphasized enough how drawn to social media people are?  

It would make sense then that social media also offers one of - if not the - best place to communicate with your customers and establish your brand.  

If you’ve already established a social media storefront as brought out above, then you now have access to very valuable data you can use to track the performance of your products and your customers’ habits and make changes accordingly.  

Reaching out to and monitoring your customers for feedback, communicating any valuable information, and taking a more personal interest in your customers (especially if you’re a small business) can go a long way towards building trust and a good reputation with your customers and provide a more secure future for your business.

3.)  Social Media Gives You A Great Opportunity To Correct Mistakes

As social media makes for a great opportunity for people’s voices to be heard, you can bet any amount of many that if people have a complaint, they’ll take to the internet to vent.  

While this can be troublesome in some scenarios, majority of the power as to the outcome of these situations actually rests in the hands of the seller.

Customers can be as belligerent and unpleasant as they please, but it ultimately comes down to your reaction and how you handle the situation that can affect your reputation and the trust that exists between you and your customers.  

If you handle things in a calm, reasonable manner and attempt to reach a satisfying solution, people will take note of that. Finding some of these unhappy campers on social media can require some vigilance, however.

Be regular in patrolling and keeping an eye on things, and try your best to address any issues as soon as they arise.

4.)  Social Media Also Allows For Customers To Build Your Rep For You!

If people often take to social media to vent negativity, then it’s guaranteed that the inverse is also true: people also take to social media to sing your praises!  

After a great customer service experience or a great deal, a lot of people will excitedly share their happy experience with the world over whatever outlet they use.

If you’re regular in patrolling said outlets yourself, then this offers a marvelous opportunity to build even further by expressing appreciation or thanks for the good word!

Another opportunity you have to let your customers build your rep can happen on your own site if you implement the option of allowing them to leave reviews!  

This allows you to not only keep connected with your customers and monitor and address any issues as well, but it also gives a nice, centralized location for any visitors to see firsthand your reputation and decide for themselves if they want to buy from you.  

Shopify has tons of options when it comes to integrating this feature into your site.


Social media is a powerful tool that can be put to use for great benefit for you and your ecommerce business.  Expanding your business into new outlets can reach a broader audience and keep you closely connected with your customers.  

Gapstow Design would love to help you accomplish that. As an Ecommerce Consulting firm located in Cleveland, Ohio, we specialize in helping businesses expand and integrate into new channels.  

We’d love to hear from you and see how we can help you achieve your goals!

Shopify & Paypal

shopify paypal ecommerce tips

Shopify offers a few convenient payment methods for you and your business, two of the most popular being Paypal and Shopify Payments.  

Both offer security and convenience for your customers, and Paypal integrates very easily into your Shopify store. In fact, a lot of businesses have decided to incorporate both into their site, as they work very well together.  

However, as with all good things, they are not without cost.

A lot of people find themselves asking then how the fees associated with either item line up? Do they stack on top of each other and compound?

The short answer is ‘no.’  

To give you a more in-depth explanation, we’ll break down some of the fees associated with both Paypal and Shopify Payments.

Paypal Fees

While Paypal has no signup fee and is very easy to integrate as mentioned above, there are some seller fees.  

When selling in the US, you’ll be charged 2.9% of the transaction in addition to a $0.30 flat fee.

When dealing with buyers outside of the US, the transaction fee is increased to 4.4%, and the flat rate is dependant on the currency.

Shopify Payments

When using Shopify Payments, depending on your plan, you’ll get charged a 2.4% to 2.9% as well as a flat $0.30.  

Together?

So Paypal and Shopify Payments both have their own fees associated with them.  

Do those fees stack on top of each other when you decide to use both?

As stated above, the answer is ‘no.’  

You only pay the fees for whatever method the customer uses at checkout, meaning you can still fully incorporate and enjoy both payment options without having to worry about paying extra fees.

Benefits Of Multi-Channel Sales

muti-channel sales ecommerce tips

There are so many options available to use in the world of ecommerce, from hosted and self-hosted platforms to online marketplaces.  

But you don’t have to limit yourself to choosing just one option.

In fact, it’s perfectly viable and even beneficial to jump into multi-channel sales across more than one ecommerce platform!  

Here are 5 benefits that come with multi-channel ecommerce.

1.)  Better Marketing

Each platform has its own customer base and market to work with and appeal to.  

If you’re having trouble reaching your target consumers on your current platform, then expanding into multiple channels can exponentially broaden your audience.  

Each platform and marketplace also has their own exclusive base of customers (ie: Amazon Prime members) that otherwise may not be reached through other platforms.

2.)  Better Portfolio

Having a more diverse portfolio can keep you save and protect you from greater risks as well as appeal to a broader customer base.  

A sales slump on eBay can be detrimental to your business if that’s your only platform, but having more than one channel open can make up for that slump and cover you.

3.)  Higher Efficiency

Learning to run your business across multiple channels and platforms can seem daunting at first.  

But with the proper tools, it can become a much easier task and benefit your business tremendously in the long run.  

Having an ecommerce consultant on the scene can help save you a lot of time and stress and get you set up and selling fast!

4.)  Scalability

Expanding into multiple channels makes your business infinitely more scalable as well!  

As your business grows, it’s important that you not only be able to keep up with it, but keep customers happy while doing so, and expanding into multi-channel sales is a fantastic way to update the policies, procedures, and systems of your business to ensure that it can handle any future growth that occurs.

5.)  Sales!

Probably the most obvious, yet most important aspect of multi-channel expansion is the increase in sales volume.  

Appealing to the new audiences that come with each platform broadens your customer base and results in increased sales.  

Who wouldn’t want that?

Why Wait?

Ecommerce multi-channel expansion is a great opportunity for your business to grow.  

Increased sales, better scalability and efficiency, and a more diverse market all make for fantastic reasons to start expanding your business today!

eBay Seller Startup Guide

ebay seller startup tips ecommerce Cleveland

Whether your a first-time seller looking to make some profit online, or an already established ecommerce business looking to expand into multiple channels, there are plenty of options for you and your business.  

Here’s a quick setup guide to effectively help you get on your feet on eBay so you can start selling sooner rather than later!

eBay Set Up

The first and main thing you’re going to want to do to establish yourself on eBay is Set Up Your Seller Account.  

You’ll have to put in your contact info as well as payment info, which has several options for you to choose from.  

You can go with Paypal, credit card, or even direct pay; whatever best suits the needs of your business (eBay itself recommends Paypal).

Now you can jump straight to selling by Listing Products!  

eBay offers several options with regards to how you can sell your goods: their infamous Auction option is available, as well as a “Buy-It-Now” option that lets you sell your goods at a fixed price.

Auction

The Auction format allows you to set the starting bid for the item as well as the end time and date for the auction.  

Then, you sit back and watch buyers bid on your item! While this can create a driving sense of competition and franticness among the competing buyers that could potentially drive the price to satisfying shores, you could end up getting a lower price for your item than you initially anticipated.

Buy-It-Now

That’s where the assurance of the Buy-It-Now format comes in handy.  

Here, you list the item at a fixed price.

This ensures you get the price you want for your item, albeit at the loss of customers’ control over the price.  

However, you can add a bit of leeway to the pricing by letting customers submit their best offer using the feature sharing the same name.

Whichever format you end up choosing for your item(s), you’d do well to still remember some things that apply regardless of the format.

  • Use your best pictures for the product listings

  • Write the best descriptions you can to draw customers to your product

Fees

Using eBay does not come without its costs.  

The first 50 items listed each month are free; beyond those, each item lands itself a $0.30 Insertion Fee.  

There’s also a Final Value Fee: once the item sells, this fee is calculated with the final price plus shipping costs.

Shipping

There are a few different options when it comes to shipping through eBay.  

You can handle the shipping yourself, but keep in mind that everything still needs to be ran through eBay anyways so that the buyer can track their package.  

That’s why using eBay’s own shipping labels is the more popular option, which automatically track everything along the way.

Selling on eBay is a relatively straightforward progress, and a great arena to expand into if you’re considering multi-channel sales.  

But as great as eBay is, it isn’t the only option when it comes to selling your products online!

We have setup guides for Walmart and Shopify, as well as several helpful articles dealing with selling on Amazon.  See which one works best for your business!

Mini Guide To Selling On Jet

adolescent-bag-beautiful-919436 (1).jpg

Since its introduction to the ecommerce world in 2015, Jet has quickly risen in fame and proven itself to be quite the competitor, even earning enough interest and reputation to be acquired by Walmart.  Jet offers a rather unique buying experience in that its entire schtick is giving its customers the best possible deal. This is achieved with a few different factors:

  • Your distance from the nearest warehouse

  • The amount if items purchased

  • Waiving the right to returns

Jet’s algorithm takes all of these factors into consideration when you do a search for an item and will list you the best deals.  The only ‘catch’ being that you don’t see the sellers, but Jet does this to ensure you get the best deals every time you shop with them.  So when you take the three factors above and work them to your advantage, you’ll get a better price in the end. For example, buying from a warehouse that’s closer to you will lower the price.  Buying a larger quantity from the same seller also works to lower your price.

How To Get Setup On Jet

There’s only a few qualifications to meet in order to become a Jet Retail Partner: good, quality products, competitive pricing, and quick shipping fulfillment.  Once you qualify, you just need to provide your Tax ID, number, annual online revenue, and any shipping details upon sign-up. Selling on Jet is pretty similar to selling on Amazon, but instead of the monthly fees Amazon throws your way, you’ll have around a 15% fee for most of the items you’ll sell.  However, Jet has no admin panel, so you’ll have to use an external inventory management program or software. That’s where having an ecommerce consultant comes in handy!

Jet is a great option when it comes to expanding your ecommerce business into new marketplaces or multi-channel sales.  Check out our page detailing online marketplace expansion for more info on Jet or to see if any other online marketplaces may be of benefit to you!

Amazon's Buy Box Overview

Amazon Buy Box ecommerce consultant

Amazon offers many ingenious methods and incentives to bring your best as an ecommerce seller.  

Whether you’re trying to qualify for Fulfillment By Amazon or win the coveted Amazon’s Choice label, there’s no shortage of opportunities for you to shine as a seller and build yourself a cut above the rest.  

The Amazon Buy Box is another one of these methods. It gives a seller a lot of visibility on Amazon when it comes to specific products.

What Exactly Is the Amazon Buy Box?

Third-party merchants make up the second most of Amazon’s income. With all the competition going on between these merchants to gain priority for their products, the Buy Box serves as a great opportunity to outshine the competition and gain some major recognition and sales.  

When you click on a product on Amazon, it will prominently only feature one seller for the product (the very best seller for that product). Off to the right in the little box with the “Add To Cart” button is where you’ll find the name of that seller, along with a link to a page showing other merchants who also sell this item.  

Seeing as how most buyers don’t dig that deep, the prominently displayed first seller typically gets the win.

This is why winning the Amazon Buy Box is a big deal if you want exposure and high sales.

How To Win The Buy Box

Amazon has criteria it looks for when it decides who wins the Buy Box spot.

  • Firstly, you need to have plenty of inventory available for your item, otherwise the box will go to someone else.

  • Your item condition matters.  New items will be given priority over Used or Like New.

  • Professional Merchant Accounts qualify for the Buy Box.  An Individual Merchant account won’t be eligible.

  • When determining your seller ranking, Amazon also looks at your Fulfillment Service.  Amazon will trust its own over anything else.

  • Your Shipping Time and Landed Price are two more important stats Amazon looks at.  Fast, free shipping are the keys here.

You can always check your status on the Seller Central Amazon page, but having these criteria met doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a spot on the Buy Box.

The good news, however, is that the Buy Box is never set in stone: the spot is always shifting.  From day to day, or even hourly, the seller in the Buy Box constantly fluctuates based on the above qualifications.  This creates healthy competition between sellers and keeps businesses on Amazon in top shape for customers.

Maintain the areas touched on above, and a spot in the Amazon Buy Box could yet be yours!

Walmart Seller Setup Mini-Guide

Walmart marketplace Cleveland website SEO

Whether you’re just deciding to expand into an online marketplace or you’re expanding into multi-channel selling, Walmart.com is a great platform to establish a presence for yourself.  

Walmart is one of the largest retailers in the world and offers a huge audience for potential customers, bringing in around 110 million visitors a month. It also has many other benefits, including no monthly subscription fees, no minimum or maximum limit on SKUs, the ability to set your own prices as a seller, and a convenient shopping experience for customers.

But just how can you become a seller on the Walmart Marketplace and take advantage of all these benefits?  

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what you need to do.

Qualify

The first - and most important - step is to qualify as a seller.  Walmart approves sellers based on a number of factors including, but not limited, to:

  • Reputation

  • Product Assortment

  • Customer service

  • Pricing

  • Fulfillment ability

The approval process can take up to two weeks.  Not everyone makes the cut, however. If you don’t, no worries!  There’s plenty of other options out there when it comes to selling your goods online.  

Our blog post on Online Marketplaces highlights some of those options as well as tips for success to help you make the best decision for you and your business.  You can check it out here!

Seller Profile Setup

After you’ve been approved to sell on Walmart’s marketplace, the next step in the process would be to complete your seller profile.  You’ll need to add your logo, contact info, shipping details, and anything else they deem necessary to complete your profile.

Financial Setup

The next two steps will get you financially set.

First, Walmart will deposit a penny into your account to test and make sure everything’s set up properly and will work fine so you can get paid from your sales.  

After that, you’ll have to set up your tax obligations to ensure customers pay proper tax at checkout.

Upload Your Products

Once all that’s done, then you finally get to upload your products!  You can edit their info all you want until you get it where you like and feel they’re ready to be sold.

Confirm & Go!

After you’ve completed all of the above, all that’s left for you to do is to give Walmart the green-light and they’ll make you live!  

As your products get sold, you’ll get the revenue deposited directly into your account, minus any referral fees.

That’s all folks!

Walmart’s marketplace is a great place to sell your products on.  If you find yourself unsure about the setup process, or want your presence established in the best possible way, then hiring an ecommerce consultant would be your best option.

Gapstow Design Company in Cleveland, Ohio can save you valuable time and energy and help your business tremendously in the long run!  

The world of ecommerce can be tricky to navigate, and we’d love to help you.

The Walmart Marketplace logo is the property of Walmart.

The Pros and Cons Of SEO vs. PPC

GapStow Design blog pros and cons of SEO PPC

SEO vs. PPC: which is better?

The answer isn’t quite so black and white as one might think, but definitely worth looking into. The truth is, both can have equally big benefits, it just depends on your needs as a business.

Of course, search engine optimization has a lot to offer for e-commerce businesses. It can secure much more organic traffic at a much lower price. However, for a new business, SEO can take time to gain momentum, whereas pay-per-click can see more immediate traffic.

But again, it all comes down to your needs as a business. In order to know which will work best for you, you have to consider your customers and what will best work with their web habits.

Obviously though, the first step in considering which would work best is knowing what each has to offer and what that would mean for you. Not to mention, you don’t have to choose one over the other: a well executed mix of SEO and PPC can work wonders for your business.

But to start, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

SEO vs PPC

The two main differentiating factors between SEO and PPC are that

  1. The PPC ads are found at the very top of the page, above the organic search results provided by SEO.

  2. The SEO’s organic traffic is free, whereas with PPC ads (as the name indicates) you pay for each click.

What SEO Can Offer Your Business:

First, let’s look at the pros of SEO:

Visibility and traffic. In a sense, SEO can almost act as free advertising because it gets you seen, a must for any e-commerce business.

Naturally, the more visible your website is in the organic search results, the more website traffic you’ll receive, which in turn gives you the opportunity to inform potential customers about your product and ultimately, the opportunity to profit.

Plus, a much higher percentage of click-throughs goes to organic search results rather than the PPC ads, so the visibility provided by SEO is extra important.

Trustworthy and credible branding. Not only does SEO boost your website’s visibility, but it can also aid in developing a reputation as a trustworthy brand.

The higher up in the search results your site appears, the more likely potential customers are to trust it, even more so than paid ad results. It gives the opportunity to showcase your experience and credibility amongst competitors, especially when reviews and answers to inquiries are present.

Cost. Unlike PPC methods, there’s no direct costs for click-throughs and website traffic.

Granted, e-commerce SEO isn’t free or easy, but in the long run it can prove itself to be well worth the cost and efforts. It strengthens your overall web presence and proves that your e-commerce business is worth looking into, and ultimately worth buying from.

In addition, organic traffic can provide a better return of investment, ROI, than PPC and other methods.

Sustainability. A recurring theme with e-commerce SEO is that you get back what you put into it, and that applies to sustainability too.

Even if you stop devoting part of your budget too it, you can still continue to reap everything quality SEO has to offer. Granted, in time it will need to be updated. But you won’t lose its benefits immediately, unlike PPC.

Strategic advantage. Again, quality e-commerce SEO isn’t easy. But that can have surprising benefits. Assuming it’s been done correctly,

SEO can gain you top spot in the organic search results over competitors, and there’s no quick and easy way for them to top that, especially with paid results.

By putting more time and effort into SEO, you’re also putting yourself ahead of competition and giving your business the advantage of more website traffic.

Of course, SEO isn’t the perfect solution to everything. For businesses starting out, results may be slow to show, or your business could be drastically overshadowed by large e-commerce corporations like Amazon.

In addition, it may be difficult for some smaller or newer businesses to acquire the resources necessary for quality SEO. Given the complexity of some SEO tactics, expert support may be needed to achieve the desired results.

Organic traffic doesn’t guarantee purchases, either. While it may provide traffic for pre-purchase inquiries and research, PPC may offer a needed push to encourage users to go through with the purchase.

What PPC Has To Offer:

With all the benefits of SEO and organic traffic, why choose PPC? Let’s look at the benefits:

Position and visibility. When you run a search, the paid results will always appear before any of the organic results, providing guaranteed visibility.

Even if organic search results are generally more trusted, paid ads will always be more seen, even if a user scrolls past them.

Better advertising. PPC ads open the way to a ton of new advertising methods not otherwise available via organic search.

For example, Google provides the option of Product Listing Ads (PLAs) that allow prospective customers to see some of the products listed on a website before they even click on it, which can really improve the click-through rate.

Targeting. PPC offers much more specific visibility to a targeted user base than organic traffic.

Keywords, location, language, timing frame, and device type can all be used to target PPC ads to the desired audiences.

Speed. While creating a good web presence with SEO can take a lot of time, PPC methods can be put into effect in a matter of weeks.

Paid advertising is without a doubt the quickest method of making your business visible and immediately available to users.

Marketing intelligence. Keyword data from organic search is generally hidden for privacy sake, unlike paid searches.  

By utilizing conversion tracking and analytics software, you’ll find which keywords covert and at what percentage and cost.

This information can not only be used to help further advertising campaigns, but also to improve SEO for organic traffic.

Stability. While the world of SEO is constantly changing and updating, PPC is a lot more stable.

That’s not to say there’s never any changes, but rather the changes are less drastic and much easier to work with.

Plus, with the search information PPC can provide, junk search can be removed, in time allow in increase in the ROI.

Cost. Contrary to popular belief, PPC can be very cost effective when run properly.

With the right keywords and efficient targeting, the right leads can be gained without taking a financial hit.

Plus, it allows for a very tight budget control and easy monitoring, in order to ensure you’re truly getting the most out of it for your business.

Clearly, PPC also has a great deal of benefits to offer. But like SEO, there are aspects to watch out for that may not fully suit your business’s needs.

PPC isn’t always cheap. Especially in the case of country-wide or international ad campaigns, costs can quickly add up.

Unlike SEO, when you stop investing in PPC strategies, you lose the benefits. It’s a consistent cost if you’re looking for consistent results.

Granted, SEO isn’t a one-and-done payment, there’s maintenance involved. But the benefits can linger for quite awhile after you’re done investing, unlike PPC.

PPC also offers various advertising options, so it requires good strategization and smart choices in order to get the most out of it. For a product listing dominated search result page, running a text ad might not be the best call, as it’s likely to get overshadowed.

It’s important, too, to consider other advertisers. You won’t be the only company advertising their products by any means, so entering bidding wars with other advertisers is always a possibility, and one that could drive costs up greatly for you.

Competitors could also evaluate and copy your advertising strategy with relative ease. There’s not much that can be done about this imitation, it’s just a part of the digital marketing world.

Quality PPC also needs good management. There’s a lot of factors to monitor, such as click-through rates, quality scores, etc. to ensure its success.

If you don’t have the time or resources to do this yourself, an e-commerce marketing expert can ensure that your paid advertising stays profitable and top quality on all fronts.

Making The Choice: SEO or PPC?

Given the pros and cons of each, the answer isn’t quite so black and white, and it depends a lot on the individual needs of each business.

For example, a small, a local business without much competition could easily gain good visibility at a low cost or even with their own simple SEO. On the other hand, a new e-commerce business might lose visibility to large online stores like Amazon or eBay, so click-throughs from organic search results might be a lot trickier to come by.

In order make the right decision, you need to identify your needs as an e-commerce business.

Consider the following:

  • Are you looking for immediate leads?

  • Are you taking into account the long game?

  • Do you have website authority to help?

  • What is the organic search competition like?

  • In paid search, what’s the cost per click?

Further help in making the decision includes clear ideas of short and long-term goals and a suitable marketing strategy to help reach those goals.

Considering SEO and PPC:

It doesn’t have to be a matter of choosing one over the other.

When properly utilized, SEO and PPC can work together to fully meet the needs of your e-commerce business.

Their pros and cons can even each other out and have an even greater end result than using either of them singularly.

Working with SEO and PPC together can grant the following benefits:

  • SEO can improve organic search using the keyword and conversion data PPC provides.

  • Website traffic can be increased for both paid and organic search results by targeting clicks with high-performing keywords.

  • Keywords that are high-cost, high-volume, or low performing can be moved to organic search from PPC.

  • A/B testing of ad copy and landing pages can be used to help your organic listing and landing pages.

  • With remarketing, you can maintain visibility after an initial touch with organic search and customize messaging around their engagement with your site.

  • PPC allows you to test keyword strategies before you commit to them long-term with SEO.

  • Target users at any point in the transaction process from research to purchase by using  commercial keywords.

  • Improve brand awareness and reputation with a strong web presence via good organic and paid visibility.

So in the end, SEO and PPC each have a lot to offer your e-commerce business, even more so when they’re skillfully combined. The resulting paid and organic traffic can greatly increase profitability. However, it still depends on the business, and an integrated approach might not be necessary in some cases.

But for those looking for high growth rates and an aggressive marketing strategy, utilizing SEO and PPC together will provide much greater results than using one or the other alone, and will be well worth any time or energy invested.

Amazon's FBA Overview

Amazon FBA blog GapStow Design Cleveland e-commerce website designers

Amazon offers a ton of nifty features for sellers using their marketplace.

Amazon Prime eligibility, the coveted Amazon’s Choice label, and FBA, or ‘Fulfilled By Amazon.’  FBA can be an incredibly valuable tool, so we’ll use this post to focus on exactly what FBA is and how you can qualify for it.

What Is Amazon’s FBA?

In short, it means Amazon stores and ships your products for you in their warehouses.  Instead of your products and shipping them taking up your resources, Amazon can take that off your hands and ultimately get your products out faster and make things more pleasant for everyone.  

But only if you qualify!

How Do You Qualify?

Qualifying for FBA can be broken down into a few different areas that are mainly common sense.  

You’ll need to have an Amazon Seller account.  

To do that, you’ll have to create one.  Decide on what you’re selling and whether or not you’ll need an individual or professional account.  

Which account type you’ll choose depends on the size of your business and sales revenue.

  • Individual would be best for very small or individual businesses - as the name name implies.  

  • Professional is better suited for larger businesses with larger sales volumes.

The next thing you want to check is that your products match up to Amazon’s product restriction guidelines.  

These are mainly common sense, like if it isn’t legal in the U.S., then it doesn’t qualify for FBA.  

Beer (both regular and non-alcoholic) also doesn’t qualify for FBA, and the same holds true for paper lanterns, loose batteries, tires, gift cards, and some others.

The last thing to look out for is your inventory packaging.  

As stated earlier, FBA means that Amazon stores your inventory in one of Amazon’s warehouses.  In order for that to happen, your product packaging has to actually meet their inventory packaging and labelling standards.  

While the requirements are specific from category to category, there are a few points in common.

For example, every packaged item must have a barcode, either from the manufacturer or from Amazon, in an accessible, readable position. Otherwise, Amazon won’t take it.

Packaging should be tight and in a standard 6-sided box so that there’s no sliding around or breaking during shipping. Also, nothing requiring assembly in order to ship will qualify for FBA.

While this isn’t an in-depth view of all the qualifications for Amazon’s FBA tool, this overview will give you enough of a general idea to be able to start prepping your inventory to qualify for FBA and get you one step farther in the process of selling on Amazon!

Four E-Commerce SEO Trends To Work With This Year

four e-commerce SEO trends 2019

In today’s digital age, the World Wide Web is constantly changing and updating in all sorts of new ways, and with it a wide variety of e-commerce SEO trends.

Of course then, e-commerce businesses will need to stay up to date on these trends in order to stay in the game and keep business lucrative.

With a new year just starting out, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the following trends so that you can get the most out of your e-commerce business.

1. Voice Search

Whether on the go or at home, virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are becoming a widely used part of day-to-day life for many people. Naturally, this is affecting the way consumers search for information about potential products and services.

For example, the way customers conduct voice searches differs from the way they might type it.

Rather than just rattling off a string of keywords to find what they’re looking for (ex. “e-commerce SEO in Cleveland”), the user will be much more likely to conduct the search in the form of a question or command (ex. “Hey Siri, find me an E-Commerce consultant nearby”).

Because of the specific nature of voice search, it’s all the more important to obtain Position Zero, or the featured result intended to summarize the overall search result.

Position Zero is placed above any other search result on the page, meaning it will attract more click-throughs then any other result.

To ensure that your e-commerce business’s website has a chance of earning that top spot, be sure to keep the keywords that are the most relevant in the page title, URL, and H1 tag, and compatible with the naturally-worded voice searches.

2. Conversions And Brand-Building

For e-commerce business owners, conversions are just as important as rankings – if not, even more important.

While rankings can bring traffic to the website, conversion marks the difference between a website’s visitor and a paying customer.

Of course, link-building has always been a vital part of e-commerce business SEO. But now, more attention is being given to developing brand-building relationships with websites and blogs within the same line of business.

In addition to aiding general SEO, link-building can attract a substantial amount of referral traffic to your website, which increases overall website traffic.

When you develop strong business relationships with similar establishments, you strengthen your overall standing as a business, which can in turn improve your overall web presence.

3. User Experience

Another important factor to give attention to is user experience.

Google’s ranking algorithm actually favors websites that are quick to load, easy to understand, and convenient to use.

A website that’s overly complicated, unclear, or inconvenient runs the risk of quickly losing whatever traffic it happens to attract.

Users who find a website isn’t meeting their needs won’t hesitate to drop the site and move onto the next one, which is why having a readable website is so important. When a site is unclear or difficult to use, it loses visitors and likely won’t see them return.

On the other hand, when a site offers a positive user experience, visitors will be much more likely to continue using the website.

The whole purpose of your business’s website is to inform and to communicate with potential customers, so providing a favorable user experience on both desktop and mobile should be top priority.

With the growing number of mobile searches especially, websites need to be optimized for all platforms in order to truly maintain the best possible user experience.  

For some tips on making your website more mobile responsive, check out our blog on the topic!

4. Website Security

Finally, website security needs to be given special attention in today’s world.

If a website begins with an HTTPS, it shows the visitor that it’s secure and trustworthy, which will make them much more comfortable with carrying out business transactions with sensitive bank information, and that means more sale opportunities.

In addition, Google favors websites that are safe and secure with better rankings and visibility across the search results page, which of course is exactly what e-commerce SEO aims to accomplish.

So naturally, taking steps to bring your website from HTTP to HTTPS will make all the difference in improving your e-commerce business’s profitability.

With all trends changes impacting the e-commerce world, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the game and competitors by staying up to date and making the fullest use of e-commerce SEO services.

On-Site E-Commerce SEO: A Basic Guide To Success

on site e-commerce SEO basics success

When it comes to the world of e-commerce, few things will have the impact on your survival and success as SEO.  

E-commerce SEO is vital to ensure that your site - and by extension your products - are visible and easy to find for consumers.  

When your site is properly optimized, it ranks higher on search engine results page (or SERPs), meaning more organic traffic to your site and - ultimately - more business.

E-commerce SEO can be a daunting and time consuming task; however, any costs or investment in good SEO is definitely overshadowed and outweighed by the benefits and rewards it can have for your business.

We’ll highlight a few techniques to good e-commerce SEO and the benefits they can draw.

Why Is SEO Important?

As mentioned above, good e-commerce SEO gets your site a higher rank on SERPs which draws more traffic to your site and results in increased conversion rates.

As an e-commerce business, one of the chief ways people will find your site - and therefore your products - is through Google searches.  

While paid search can work to get you a beneficial spot, ad blockers and other variables can reduce the effectiveness of that method.

We have an entire blog post devoted to the importance of SEO for your e-commerce business.  Check it out if you’d like more information!

The Key To Successful SEO

We’ve already highlighted why e-commerce SEO is important, now it’s time to discuss just how you can put it into practice.  

One of the first things you want to do is develop a good strategy.  

A good e-commerce SEO strategy will help you efficiently spend your resources and energy in order to yield maximum results for your business.

Here are some key things to keep in mind when developing your e-commerce SEO strategy:

1.) Prioritize!

To start, focus your energy on the products or pages that you want to feature or already generate the most traffic.  

While the long-term goal is to optimize your entire website, approaching with that mindset will only exhaust you and spend unnecessary resources

2.)  Plan!

In order for your efforts in your prioritized area (and beyond) to have maximum result, you need to plan out what needs to be done.  

SEO has a lot to it on the way of criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Content

  • Keywords

  • Images

  • Descriptions

  • Meta-data

These are just broader key points of SEO that we’ll touch on, each has its own facets and nuances that can and should be touched up as well.  

For those bits, we recommend hiring someone with e-commerce SEO experience who knows what they’re doing.

3. )  Scout!

If you’re having trouble figuring out what direction to go in, a great place to start is to check out your competition, particularly the competitors a little ahead of your league.

Their site is more than likely already optimized, and taking a look at what they’ve got in that department can give you a number of good pointers and ways to improve your own!

Nitty-Gritty

Once you’ve got your SEO Strategy together, then it’s time to take action.

Here’s where we’ll break down some of the broad key aspects we highlighted earlier.

Content

Content is the backbone of good ecommerce SEO: without quality content, then any SEO you do really won’t have anything to work with.

Blogs, news articles, info pages, and more are great ideas for content pages that you can use for your site.

These pages give Google and the other search engines stuff to look through and rank you by.  

More quality content, and these search engines will see you as valuable, knowledgeable, and relevant with the topic you’re addressing, resulting in a higher ranking on the SERPs.

Keywords

Where content is the meat of your site, keywords are the salt.

Researching what keywords will work best for your business is its own beast in and of itself.  But using them appropriately throughout your site once you have them is an art.

If you use too many keywords, Google will call you out on it and slap you with a lower ranking.  But if you use too few, then Google will hardly notice you.

Again, think of salting your food.

If you use too much, then the meal is ruined and you need to eat something else. If you use too little, then your food will still taste bland.

Use the right amount to really bring out the flavor and make the meal more appealing!

Images

Images are another huge factor in good e-commerce SEO, as they work to reduce your page speed.  

Your website’s page speed is a huge factor when it comes to customer satisfaction and by extension, then, your SERP ranking.  

If you use lots of big, hi-res uncompacted images, then your site will take longer to load them.  Customers click away from sites that tend to take any longer than 5-7 seconds to load, with the gold standard being less than 5.  

Optimizing your images is a fantastic way to decrease your page load speed and keep your website optimized!

Descriptions

Optimizing your descriptions is another important step.  

You want to give as much information as you can in as few, carefully selected words as you can manage.  

Carefully sprinkle your keywords throughout as well to catch Google’s eye.

If not optimized, consumers can lose patience and navigate to somewhere else, and Google could see your site as overcomplicated and rank you lower.

Metas

From image alt text to your webpage’s snippets, these little bits can be very important for Google to see and rank you higher.  

Giving your images alt text lets Google know exactly how they’re relevant, and also lets them be sorted more efficiently. The same goes for the other little snippets and such.

Conclusion

E-commerce SEO can be an intimidating process, but with the right method and enough preparation and planning, it can be done efficiently and really boost your e-commerce business’s Google ranking!

Maximizing The Growth Benefits Of SEO For Your E-Commerce Business

The Basics Of SEO

The definition of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing a website’s traffic via organic search results.

Studies have shown that first page search results earn a minimum of 75% of click-throughs.

So it’s no wonder SEO is vital to E-Commerce businesses: it can make or break website visibility and accessibility.

The more visible your site, the more potential customers you’ll gain and the greater your opportunity to thrive as a business will be.

How Your Business Can Benefit From SEO

From small businesses to large companies, E-Commerce SEO is the key to maximizing profitability in today’s digital world.

As many as 89% of today’s consumers rely on search engines to obtain information about products of interest, a figure that has remained on a steady increase over the years.

Without properly utilizing SEO, you’re accepting the risk of allowing your business to fall behind competitors in both the ranking of search results and ultimately profits.

On the other hand, making full use of SEO for your E-Commerce business can give you the advantage needed to surpass the competition and increase profitability.

SEO’s Impact On Your Business’s Growth Rankings

There’s no doubt that personal recommendations can strongly affect how consumers view your business and what it has to offer.

That’s where reviews come in to play.

Positive personal reviews, especially when creative and enthusiastic, will attract more click-throughs and leave a lasting impression on potential customers.

Even in the case of negative reviews, dealing with them in a professional and courteous manner can have a positive effect on customers when they’re made priorities, thus improving the overall user experience your website as to offer.

Utilizing Positive E-Commerce SEO Strategies

While it may seem complicated, link building is a key facet of SEO that can determine how high your site ranks on the search results page.

E-Commerce SEO services such as Gapstow Design Company will put forth effort to create backlinks that maximize traffic to your website.

In addition, quality content is vital to a website.

It showcases exactly what you as a business are all about and what makes you the best choice for potential customers.

Like most aspects of maintaining an e-commerce business, however, developing quality content for your website can take a good deal of time and effort, but the benefits make it well worth it.

Another SEO strategy to implement for your e-commerce business is personalization.

Making your customer feel valued and showing that they’re a priority can greatly enhance your website’s user experience, as well as your customer’s view of you as a business. This can be achieved by catering your website to personally suit a user’s individual needs.

Today, it can’t possibly be overstated how important utilizing social media can be to your e-commerce business.

Combining effective SEO tactics with various social media platforms’ wide reaches and individual user bases can be used to aid in personalization, as well as increasing brand awareness.

Maintaining Up-To-Date SEO

With all this information in mind, it’s important to note that Google and other search engines are constantly changing and updating.

To ensure that your use of SEO stays effective, it’s important to stay up to date on any changes and work with them accordingly.

For example, the recent rise of features such as voice search and virtual assistants can impact the way consumers obtain information about products and businesses.

Updating your website’s content to include long tail keywords and everyday language will maintain your business’s visibility, even in the face of ever-changing trends among consumers.

Getting The Most Out Of E-Commerce SEO For Your Business

SEO will do more than just put your website on the front pages of an internet search.

With proper tactics implemented, SEO will keep it there, as well as improve overall visibility, user experience, and customer approval.

The bottom line is that quality E-Commerce SEO is the key to maintaining a good web presence and maximizing the profitability of your business’s website. In today’s technological age, that can be critical to the success of your business, whether big or small.

Gapstow Design Company is here to help you with your E-Commerce SEO. You can learn more about the packages we offer to help you get the most out of your e-commerce website here.