Cliff TechnologiesCliff Technologies

By Sonal Dharampuria

Strategies To Validate Your Product Ideas

 

Coming up with a product idea for your new online business can be difficult. More difficult still is building the confidence to make the jump and go through with your idea once you do have one. Will anyone care? Will anyone buy it? These are common questions you’ll ask yourself at some point in your journey. Truth be told, you’ll never know with 100% certainty how well your product idea will do until you actually open up shop. However, by validating your product idea before jumping in head first, you can mitigate risk and build confidence in your idea before investing too much time and money.

Analyze Your Competition

You’re in all likelihood not the first person selling your particular product online. Therefore, a good first step is to look to your competition to better understand demand and potential product appeal.

Although you’ll probably never know exactly how well your competition is doing, there are things you can uncover that can give some indication.

Uncovering Your Competitors

The first step is to first determine who is currently selling your potential product. The easiest way to discover your competitors is to do some simple Google searches for your product idea. It’s important to think like a potential customer and search for terms that customers would actually use.

Once you uncover a few key competitors, you can use free online tools like Similar Web and SEM rush to uncover others.As an example, I searched for “Hair Extensions” in Google. Once I found a few of the top ranking online hair extensions stores, I searched for them in both SEM rush an Similar Web to get the following list of additional online hair extension retailers.

What does their social following/interaction look like?

Social following and interaction doesn’t necessarily correlate to sales but it could be a good indicator of market interest. One of the most important things to remember here is that you can’t take the number of followers for face value. It’s easy these days to purchase thousands of even tens of thousands of fake (robot) followers inexpensively on services like Fiverr. Because of this, you must look past just social following and look at how much interaction they actually receive on posts and the sentiment of responses.

Starting a new business can be a little scary especially when you’re unsure in your product idea. However, taking the time upfront to better understand your competitors, the market and doing some testing can help build confidence and save you time as well as money down the road.

By Sonal Dharampuria

What Bots Can and Can’t Do for Your Online Store

 

It’s hard to talk about “conversational commerce”—a concept to describe the future of messaging apps—without mentioning chat bots.

Chat bots are essentially programs pretending to be people that you can interact with through text or even voice. Essentially, you can talk to these chat bots in your messaging apps, much like you would any other contact in your list, to get the day’s news or even get something done.In the context of Conversational commerce, where messaging apps become a bridge between consumers and businesses, chat bots seem to be the best answer for e commerce business owners to manage thousands of one-to-one conversations with customers.

But for many online business owners who don’t need to manage that many customer conversations at a time, “outsourcing” customer support to a robot just isn’t worth sacrificing the quality of each individual shopper’s experience or what you as a business owner could learn from them.These smaller online businesses are often run by one or two people who, thanks to a bit of automation, are more than capable of juggling several conversations with their customers at any given time.

you might be hesitant to completely trust a bot with something as important as providing good customer service.Instead, e commerce businesses should look at conversational commerce as an opportunity to couple intimacy and automation to help them deliver a more personal customer experience through messaging apps.

While the chatbot hasn’t evolved to the point where it could completely pass for a real person yet, the messaging app has evolved to improve a part of business that never quite carried over from brick-and-mortar to the online store: Sales and customer support.

And it’s only possible now because messaging apps as a whole have experienced growth compared to most social apps, offering users a more engaged and private communication channel than any social network. Among these messaging apps, Facebook Messenger presents one of the largest opportunities right now.

By Sonal Dharampuria

Role of Social Media in Promoting Your Online Store’s Products

 

A study by the leading business analyst group Nielsenwire has revealed some startling facts about the American web surfers. The study shows that 23% of an American’s time used online, is spent on social media websites. As for online search, they spent only 3.5% of their time. The growth in affinity for online social media has increased by 43%, whereas time spent on emailing has declined by 29%. Instant messaging which was a must-do for everyone using the Internet even a few years back, has only 4% of share in the whole pie which is steadily declining

These facts and others point to only one thing – internet social media rules; at least for the time being. Naturally, the most likely places where you can find people (read customers) are internet media networks. Being an online retailer now is the time for you to focus on social media and make your presence felt there. Here are a few tips to make your online ecommerce shopping cart visible in internet social media:

It is important that your shopping cart software display icons that links to your accounts – put the icons for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn etc. in one place and give proper visibility.

While socializing, people are mostly in joyous mood. Entice them by running games or lucky-draws; give away a few prizes (Why – use your least sold products!). This will give people a chance to visit your online shopping store – even if they don’t play or win.

Chances are that 4 out of 10 visitors will return.
Update your internet social media website regularly. This is very important, as your followers will always get the latest info; otherwise they would conveniently walk to the next ecommerce shopping store.

Don’t ‘push’ your products; rather try helping your followers. Don’t portray yourself always as a businessperson who is after profit. Instead, be a friend first, people will automatically follow. Do not go gaga about “what you have”, tell people “what you can give”.

Use shopping cart software that offers interface to link products directly to your favorite social media site. For example, there are ecommerce store providers who can help you to take your products directly into the Fan pages of your Facebook account. Your Facebook fans can see all the latest products from your online shopping cart from inside their Facebook accounts only.

Interacting with your fans/followers/customers is the key to spread your brand’s value in social media. Search engine optimization techniques are good for enhancing your search ranking. However, to be known in the social media front, you need to a have different strategy in place. You must give your followers the freedom to judge your products, comment on them and compare. On your part, you will need to analyze people’s views, follow trends, and implement changes and so on.

Internet Social media networks have immense potentiality to expose your products sold through your ecommerce shopping cart to new customers. Furthermore, it’s the perfect platform to help you retaining customers and build a sustainable relationship with new ones. So, when the social media rules, you can take your online ecommerce shopping cart to new heights, if you closely follow the rules of the game!