3 Awesome E-commerce Tips of the Week

By Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I found some really effective tactics being used at some online shops that I thought I would share, that may add value to your e-commerce site.

Make Your Email Sign Up More Attention Getting

The Palm Tree Boutique did something smart. When I land on a home page of an online shop, I typically get an annoying box asking me to sign up for their newsletter that I almost immediately click shut. But Palm Tree did something different and put up a very large photo image instead, plus offering 20%, which is quite generous. It was much more effective.

effective marketing

Let Customers Make Their Own Product Bundles

I love this idea by the makeup company, Benefit, of allowing customers to create their own bundle of products. The price is set at $79, but customers get to choose three products from three different options, plus they also receive free gifts. Great way to up-sell more products.

ecommerce tips

 Give Previews of Your Social Media & Incentives to Follow

I have long recommended to clients to instead of just say, “follow us on social media” to give an incentive to do so, as well as a preview of what you post. The online store Furbish Studios does a nice job of both. letting people know that if they follow on Instagram they will get exclusive discounts, Furbish favorites and design inspiration.

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May Marketing Calendar

Online Shops May Calendar CoverThe May version of my very popular Marketing Calendar for Online Shops is available now. I also have a version for Etsy shops available here.


Marketing I Love: 2 Favs of the Week

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I am always on the lookout for great marketing, so here are a couple of tactics I noticed this week that I hope will inspire your business.

Fav Instagram Account of the Week: Play-doh

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I love what Play-doh is doing on Instagram. A lot of shops who use my monthly Marketing Calendar or have read my Ebooks, know that one of the keys to success on social media is taking advantage of what is trending. Play-doh is using its product, but in a playful way, to capitalize on key pop culture events. Look closely and you will see a white dog in honor of the premiere of Games of Thrones that night or an image for the first day of major league baseball or an image to announce the start of April. They find a clever way to capitalize on these trending hash tags.

Fav Promo of the Week: Lands End

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Lands End is taking advantage of Mother’s Day by asking its Instagram followers to tell them who in their life is an all around amazing woman, include the hashtag #sheis, and they have a chance to win a gift tote plus their picture could be part of their Mother’s Day page. This is a good way to spark a discussion on social media, get your own hash tag trending and get more comments on your Instagram page.

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Marketing I Love: 3 Favs of the Week

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Time for another roundup of my favorites, this week a colorful Instagram account, a stylish online shop and a chic product packaging design. 

My Fav Instagram Account of the Week

I absolutely love the Instagram profile from Rachel Mae Smith of the blog, The Crafted Life. On her account she features a lot of bright and colorful photographs (her own) as well as simple but stylized images that relate back to her DIY and crafting blog. If you need a little color in your life, be sure to follow Rachel on Instagram at https://instagram.com/thecraftedlife/.

Favorite Instagram accounts

My Fav Online Shop of the Week

Koromiko is a true artisan online marketplace. Featuring a variety of designers in the home goods space (some jewelry), the online shop features a clean, simplistic design. I love how the opening slide show features a variety of different products working together, which is so important when you want to up-sell more items in your shop. Don’t you just want to buy everything shown below because it all works so beautifully together? I also love that Koromiko profiles the artisans right on the home page, as well as in the section entitled, “Maker Spaces” for a glimpse inside the artists’ workshops. Keeps you on the site longer.

favorite ecommerce sites

 My Fav Product Packaging Design of the Week

I have always said, packaging does not have to be complicated to be effective. I love the packaging design of I Am Fragrance. Each bottle details a characteristic of what the perfume represents. The word “perfume” is not even on the front of the label. Just a basic typeface and each fragrance distinguished by the color of the label and matching ribbon makes for an eye-catching design.

great packaging design

Check back tomorrow for my advice on clever ways to get in front of your target market … Gail 

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5 Bright Marketing Ideas This Week

by Gail Oliver, Marketing Consultant

There were lots of great marketing and promotional ideas this week that got my attention. Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire your business.

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This Week’s Bright Marketing Ideas

  • Vienna coffee company Julius Meinl allowed customers at any of their locations to pay for their coffee simply by leaving an original poem, all in celebration of World Poetry Day on March 21 (#PayWithaPoem).
  • Starbucks is celebrating their 20th anniversary by selling a birthday cake flavored frappuccino.
  • Target is looking to add some more indie chic to their home decor offerings by now including products from artisan marketplace, Of a Kind.
  • Music festival fashion continues to be a hot commodity with major retailers such as Free People, Asos, TopShop, ModCloth and Roxy giving it a separate category in their online shops. H&M has even released a Coachella collection.
  • Yoga wear designer Lululemon has addressed a problem many men have and, as such, their ABC men’s pants are flying off the shelves. What does the “ABC” stand for? Anti-ball crushing.

Wishing a happy Easter and Passover to my readers! Gail 


Marketing I Love: 4 Favs of the Weeks

by Gail Oliver, Marketing Consultant

When I come across great marketing, I just have to share. Below are my picks for my favorite blog, Instagram, Pinterest and e-commerce sites of the week and why, in what is now to be a regular feature on my blog. I hope they inspire you!

Blog Love

Garance Doré is an artist who started blogging back in 2006. Her blog, Garance Doré, focuses on style, beauty and travel with her personal stories also added into the mix. Visually, the blog is stunning with its use of amazing photography, her own whimsical illustrations and lots of white space,  but it is her ability to post intriguing content (she does have a few contributors) that has gained her large following of readers. As such, she has also been able to turn her blog into a revenue generator with an online store that has affiliate links to products she loves as well as some of her own products for sale. Garance is a great example of how to brand yourself. 

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Instagram Love

My Instagram account of the week is from Natalie Discala of the blog, Oh Travelissima. The photos she posts to her Instagram account are so stylized, engaging and fun, it really makes me feel like I have got to get out of the house more (or maybe I just want her life). Follow her on Instagram, trust me, you will be addicted!

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Pinterest Love

It’s no surprise that Chungah of the food blog, Damn Delicious, has amassed over 220,000 followers on Pinterest. As a blogger and food photographer, she understands the power of both great photography as well as long pins. Her pins are actually too long to show on my blog, but with a combination of using two gorgeous photos, separated by stylish typography displaying the name of the recipe, she really does stand out in your Pinterest feed. She what I mean by checking out her Pinterest boards for yourself. 

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E-Commerce Love

I love the simplicity of the online shop, Jelanié. The top portion of the store is simply a running slide show of beautiful images showing many of her products in use together (a great way to upsell more items). The shop categories are simple and straightforward, and there is a preview of some products right on the home page, with a flyout indicating what is new and the ability to add the item right to your cart. She even draws attention to her blog (which is also wonderful) in an obvious, but subtle way. Love!

Screen shot 2015-03-30 at 10.03.48 AMThat’s all for today. If you have a blog, shop or social media site that you are proud of, let me know in comments … Gail 


What Your Business Could Learn From Taylor Swift

by Gail Oliver, Marketing Consultant

Singer Taylor Swift may be a huge superstar, but she is also a very smart business woman. On Wednesday, she posted a video to YouTube called “Swiftmas” (even the name is clever) where she documented the wrapping and packaging of gifts that she picked out for some of her most loyal fans, complete with hand written notes. Swift knew exactly what to buy these fans, based on researching their social media pages. From the reaction of the fans that received these packages, it is clear just how much this act of appreciation truly meant to them.

Your Customers Are Your Business

This is why Swift is a smart business woman. She gets it that her fans are her customers and it is important to keep your customers happy. Now, I am not saying this is her motivation for giving gifts to her fans, she seems like a genuine person, but she hasn’t let her success cloud the fact that it is not all about taking from your customers, it is about giving back to your customers and showing that you appreciate their business.

What Taylor Swift Did That Your Business Should Do

  • Swift studied her fans’ social media pages to see their likes, hobbies, jobs, etc., to find out more about them
  • She didn’t just send an autographed photo of herself or her CD, but rather a gift that had nothing to do with her that they wanted or she thought they would like
  • She included a lengthy hand written note stating why she was sending the package, and showing that she truly had gotten to know them
  • She even hand delivered some packages herself
  • She documented and publicized Swiftmas, probably gaining her even more fans. Nothing wrong with that, businesses promote their customer appreciation stories all the time, and, thanks to social media, your customers (like Taylor’s fans) will likely publicize your nice gesture as well.

Keeping the Customers You Have

As I have said many times, it isn’t always about trying to get new customers. Repeat customers and referral customers can be a large percentage of your business. But it is a two-way street. So be like Taylor and carve out some time in 2015 to really get to know your customers and find ways to show them how grateful you are for their business. Anytime you go that extra step to show your appreciation, you will likely have a customer (fan) for life.

Again, wishing you much success in 2015! Until next time … Gail 

Be Sure to Download My Monthly Marketing Calendars

Marketing Calendar for 2015

Packed with creative daily ideas that will keep your small business visible and easily attract more customers, the January 2015 calendar is now available with versions for Online Stores, Retail Stores, Restaurants, Realtors and Photographers. Download here. 




Product Photography I Love – HerriottGrace.com

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I gave across this online shop the other day and I was blown away by their product photography so I had to share.

HerriottGrace.com is a father and daughter team where the father, Lance, hand crafts beautiful kitchen and serving ware in wood, ceramic and metal and his daughter, Nikole, an established photographer, styles and shoots his creations. The results are very inspiring.

examples great product photography

 What Makes These Product Photos Work

  • Showing the product in use
  • The addition of pops of color against a white background
  • Creating interest by having others items leading the eye off-center
  • Including the shadows makes it less sterile
  • Keeping a little of the messiness of eating makes it realistic
  • These are magazine quality images that editors will use and people will share on social media

great product photography

How to Get Professional Photos for Free

I’m going to give you a tip that I include in my Marketing Ebooks. If you cannot afford professional looking photographs, local photography students may do it for free. Simply go to your local community college, see if they offer a photography class, and then ask the professor if they would be willing to do a class project whereby they shoot your products for you. They get a class project, you get free photos. Photography students are also in need of subject matter for their portfolio, so you could also approach individual students about shooting your products for this purpose. You can barter with them and/or offer a credit/link to them on your site.

product photography tips

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