5 Must-haves When Choosing a Hosting Provider for eCommerce


Teledata will be exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North. The below blog was written by James Burns and originally appeared on their website.


There are plenty of hosting providers on the market today who offer so-called “eCommerce hosting” services.

In reality, however, there are many different ways you can host a successful online store: any dedicated or cloud server with a high enough spec can be used to run popular eCommerce platforms such as Magento and WooCommerce, and you could also start from scratch and build your website within a more flexible IaaS environment.

However, regardless of whether or not you decide to sign up with a self-proclaimed eCommerce hosting expert, some things should be non-negotiable when choosing a hosting provider for an eCommerce website.

Here are five examples.

1. Security for customer data

It’s impossible to run an online store without handling large amounts of customer data that needs to be kept secure. If your website’s security is compromised, some of the repercussions could include fines under GDPR, loss of customers and lasting reputation damage – all of which could be enough to sink a business in the ultra-competitive world of ecommerce. This is especially true in the current climate where data and privacy concerns are big news and increasingly in the consciousness of your customers.

As such, it pays to compliment your own security measures by working with a PCI DSS-conscious, security-savvy provider that can help you with compliance and won’t expose you to unnecessary risk by failing to keep on top of security patching, for example, or by using low-quality data centre and cloud infrastructure partners.

Another consideration is whether your provider will supply your website’s SSL certificate and keep this up to date, or whether this falls on you.

2. Suitable data centre locations

In a cloud-centric world, it can be tempting to take the view that your provider’s data centre is out of sight and out of mind. However, we wouldn’t recommend that an ecommerce business turns a blind eye to data centre location as it can have a significant impact on the speed of their website for the customers they want to sell to. According to one stat from Google, more than half (57%) of mobile shoppers will abandon a website if a page takes more than three seconds to load.

The takeaway? If you want to sell to customers in the UK, choose a UK data centre – and, if your provider can’t confirm where your website will be hosted, look elsewhere.

For some companies, data centre location could also be a critical compliance factor as it may be considered a compliance risk to let personal data leave UK shores.

3. DR capabilities

In addition to a primary data centre that meets your requirements around latency and data residency, check that your provider can offer some level of protection against prolonged unplanned downtime and data loss. Examples could include offering remote storage as standard for backups, offering automated backups of your entire environment, or more sophisticated disaster recovery (DR) solutions such as DRaaS.

4. Quality support

Nothing can make or break the relationship between an ecommerce business and its hosting provider quite like quality of support. There is, after all, a direct link between the performance and availability of an online store and its ability to make money, and it’s more than a little frustrating to work with providers that don’t understand this and aren’t able to offer fast, outcome-focused support when there’s unplanned downtime or a speed issue to fix.

To get a feel for the quality of support on offer from a particular provider, we recommend you look for references from other customers, find out whether their support is inclusive and check which channels you can use to access support (whether they offer phone support, for example).

It’s also worth talking to their support staff about your requirements upfront, as a decent provider should be able to offer some advice on the best setup for your website and the best way to move from your current provider as smoothly as possible. Indeed, the extent to which you’re granted pre-sales access to support teams and how they perform is a very worthwhile and revealing exercise. It’s a great way of testing the water before you make a decision on your hosting provider – so pick up the phone and see how you get on.

5. Industry track record

Finally, choosing a supplier with a proven track record in the ecommerce world is a good way to ensure your hosting provider understands the common challenges and must-haves for online retailers and ecommerce agencies, and has experience of delivering against them successfully. Again: any provider can offer a commodity server product that has a high enough spec to run Magento or another popular ecommerce platform, but far fewer can offer glowing references from customers who trust them with multiple websites.

How to Deal With Negative Product Reviews in eCommerce


Space48 are one of our Event Partners this year and will also be exhibiting at the expo. The below article originally appeared on their website and was written by their Head of Insight, Oliver Lees.


Many retailers and online businesses are afraid of negative product reviews, fearing they will damage the reputation of their brand and hinder conversion rate.

These days, customer reviews and user-generated content is important in eCommerce for influencing consumer decision-making.

Space 48’s Head of Insight, Oliver Lees, outlines 7 great ways to deal with negative product reviews, discussing how they can actually help your business improve!

Turn a negative into a positive

Don’t fear negative customer reviews and low products ratings. Perfect reviews on websites don’t look authentic. Seeing a few bad reviews amongst mainly positive reviews is normal and displaying them shows transparency and helps to build trust in brand.

A study by Yotpo, one of our favourite user-generated content (UGC) solutions, revealed that the most common words mentioned in negative product reviews were “disappointed” or “disappointment”. This signifies that issues with products are often about them not meeting consumer expectations, not that they’re necessarily bad products.

These type of negative reviews help the buying decisions of others, encouraging those who do want what other customers found disappointing to purchase, despite the “negative” reviews. You could have a great product, which just wasn’t what someone was expecting. Perhaps the negative review was about the price, which might not be a problem for other consumers viewing the product.

Learn from the feedback

There are lots of different ways to learn from negative reviews. As mentioned above, the low rating could be due to reasons that don’t reflect a fault, but instead are down to personal preference or requirements.

See this customer review below for a pair of gloves. The customer gives the product a low rating, but is helpful enough to explain the reason for the negative rating. The reviewer actually states that they would have given the gloves a good review if they’d wanted them for warmth in dry weather. It’s the lack of waterproofing that lets the product down, in their opinion.

 

Learn from useful reviews like this and consider where you could make this clear to future customers, so the expectations of the buyer are met.

Monitor reviews and respond where necessary

Some customer reviews are short and sweet, some are in-depth and informative, and others can be aggressive and even unreasonable. It’s a good idea to be to monitor your reviews and respond where necessary. If there are clear issues that need to be addressed, a quick response will be appreciated by consumers, whilst answering any common questions that come from negative reviews will help customers to trust your brand.

A numbers game: encourage more reviews

According to Yotpo, only 14% of customer reviews are 3 stars or less. Positive reviews account for the large majority and, therefore, encouraging more reviews will help you to further outweigh your negative products reviews with positive ones.

Encourage customers to review your products by incentivising users, rewarding repeat reviewers and sending post-purchase emails asking customers how they enjoyed their recent purchases. Also, make submitting product reviews easier and forms mobile-friendly, as mobile shopping continues to grow.

Provide more criteria to help the decision-making process

If negative reviews reveal any issues you have with products being difficult to use, you might be wise to curate how-to videos or add unboxing reviews and tutorials, using UGC tools like Videoly. Adding further criteria, visual content and useful information to your product pages assists consumer decision making.

ASOS is a trailblazer for delivering great customer service and UX-friendly product pages. Here’s an example of the tactics the brand uses to help customers make the right product choice. The images below show a clear offer for help with product sizing and then a tool which gives you a recommended size and calculates the percentage of people buying a particular size with a similar profile to you (adding “that didn’t return it”).

 

These tactics lead to a reduction in bad reviews, as customers will more often than not get the products they expected, which helps turn more browsers into buyers and increase your conversions. ASOS’ easy package tracking and returns policy help too!

Address issues and implement changes

If you get recurring negative product reviews that show a pattern of an inherent problem with a particular product or even your customer service, make sure you act quickly to address the problem. Make the required changes either to your product proposition or your customer service and processes, which will help to decrease negative reviews.

Consider chatbots to improve customer service

Chatbots can enable brands to deliver better browsing experiences for shoppers and assist with decision making. Customers who get a quick answer from the brand’s customer support about a product they’re considering buying, or have bought and discovered an issue, are less likely to write a negative review.

Retailers are seeing the benefit of AI assistants and enhanced customer support, whilst consumers are used to instant messenger apps and interacting with people via chat features. Would you rather get a quick answer or be on hold waiting for a support operative.

Buying behaviours are changing fast and chatbots are becoming more relevant to today’s shopper.

Why LinkedIn is the King of Organic


Digital Media Team will be exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North. This post was written by guest blogger Lucy Thorpe and originally appeared on the Digital Media Team website.


You might think of LinkedIn as somewhere that only job hunters, recruiters and sales people hang out, but did you know that there are 9 billion content impressions in LinkedIn feeds every week?

This content is generated by just 3 million users, so as share of voice goes, it’s a great way to reach a huge audience with less competitive conversation than say, Google or Facebook.

People spend time on other social networks, but they invest time in LinkedIn, seeking content that helps them to solve a professional problem. According to stats from LinkedIn, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn. This is why 92% of B2B marketers leverage LinkedIn over all social platforms and 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content.

The professional social network is also fantastic for generating traffic to your website – 46% of social media coming into B2B company sites comes from, you guessed it, LinkedIn.

But it’s not just about B2B. LinkedIn has 450 million professionals who use the site and stats from the social network reveal that it’s become a destination where people consume high-quality content from professional publishers – think The Wall Street Journal or The Economist – who are sharing content into their feed. In short, the audience on LinkedIn are primed and ready for relevant information that they can use to help them succeed.

The different types of content that can be shared across LinkedIn is extensive, ranging from long-form pieces of content such as whitepapers to images, news, videos, status updates, slides, podcasts and external articles. You can also contribute to groups to join conversation in your industry. Hashtags also work on the site, so you can help your audience find your organic content more easily and grow your brand awareness.

 

Another reason why LinkedIn is the king of organic is the ability to publish long-form content as an influencer – alongside legendary business heroes such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson. This can be a key tool to increase engagement and traction on your content – according to a study by Google consumers check 10 pieces of content before they make a purchase decision, so it’s important that your prospective customer can find your content easily when they’re ready to make that decision.Content can also be shared through your LinkedIn Company Page and specific Showcase Pages to increase your organic reach. These tools are free to establish brand awareness and thought leadership. By sharing relevant information, perspectives and product information to reflect your company’s vision you can help your customers find your content, without having to spend a penny on targeting or sponsored content.

Also, did you know that SlideShare is also part of LinkedIn? With 70 million unique visitors per month, the site is one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world and the world’s largest professional content-sharing community. 80% of visitors to SlideShare find content through organic search (20% from Google alone) that takes them directly to the information they’re looking for.

 

It’s the perfect organic opportunity to showcase content such as presentations, portfolios, conference talks and webinars to raise brand awareness and thought leadership alongside your LinkedIn presence. The visual aspect of SlideShare can resonate more quickly with some viewers than text heavy posts too.

Hair & Beauty home booking app launches in Manchester

Gather are the digital agency behind the development of a new mobile app for the hair and beauty industry. Manchester based startup No Filter Needed aim to provide salon quality experiences for women in the comfort of their own home or workplace.
The application, initially on iOS allows users to browse through a selection of looks for either hair or makup before booking a service with one of No Filter Needed’s trained stylists. Bookings can be made at a time that suits the user and all payments are handled via Apple Pay for a quick efficient service.
The initial launch has seen a spike in interest in the service which has been building up awareness among its followers for some time now. Demand is expected to grow following the initial launch of the app in Manchester as the business looks to expand into the surrounding areas.

Daniel Allman at No Filter Need said:
“When we first came up with the idea for No Filter Needed back in 2016 we didn’t have a clue of where to start. We had so many ideas and didn’t know what was viable and how to progress. Gather helped us to focus on what was important, suggested some innovative ways to make the app different and brought some great insight to help us make some important decisions. As a startup and with no experience in the app market, Gather lead us through the stages leading to our launch. Our initial users have remarked on how intuitive the app to use and navigate and we couldn’t be happier with the finished result. The app works seamlessly with our stylist portal where our professionals can set their own availability with ease. We can’t wait to get started on version two!”

Richard Silk at Gather added:
“We’re really happy with the initial app, it looks great and we’ve had some enthusiastic feedback so far. As a development agency that works with a lot of startups, I can say from experience that No Filter Needed is set to expand quickly. There’s a style to suit every occasion plus we built in a reward system for loyalty and friend referral to stimulate the snowball effect. We have big things planned for the development of the app and look forward to a long relationship with No Filter Needed.”

The app is available for download on the itunes store here.
No Filter Needed: www.nofilterneeded.com
Gather: www.gatherdigital.co.uk

For more information please contact;
Gather Digital Ltd
18-22 Lloyds House, Lloyd Street, Manchester M2 5WA
Phone: 0161 8393493
Email: richard@gatherdigital.co.uk

Technology Is About To Fix The Broken Search & Shopping Industry For Advertisers

Bjorn Espenes, Finch CEO and Co-founder. The paid search industry is riddled with broken promises. If you have hired an agency or an in-house search guru you have probably been burned; these people tend to promise the world but deliver very little. It seems there are unlimited promises made: we’ll give you amazing PPC performance…in exchange for an upfront fee, a fixed monthly price tag and a long-term contract, or a high fixed salary for an in-house guru. You, the Advertiser, takes all the risk while the hired agency or employee gets paid regardless of performance.

A six-month honeymoon to start going, another six months to start producing, stagnation sets in, the excuses come, then the relationship ends. A story I hear very often when I talk to advertisers.

Why is this?
This problem exists because it is a very complex industry that requires people with specific industry knowledge and solid technology. There are also very low barriers to entry; anyone can start a PPC company with as little as a credit card and a clue. Once started, these companies solicit clients using tricks (see this article for more) with the promise of eternal sunshine for a nominal fee. These promises have given our industry a bad rap over the years, and rightfully so.

There is also an imbalance of information between the advertiser and the search engine.

Every time someone starts typing in the search box, Google and Bing rev up their monster engines filled with big data, machine learning and AI components to predict the exact value of the click they are about to sell you by stack ranking the advertisers (creating ad rank). They know everything about the person doing the search, and they know everything about each of the advertisers. When they serve up the ad they have calculated down to a fraction of a penny exactly what that click is worth to them. This is the supply side of selling clicks and they hold all the cards.

On the demand side of buying clicks, is the advertiser. They know very little about what that next click is worth to them and what they know, they do not execute on. Don’t believe me? Do this:

> Log onto your AdWords account,
> Select Settings
> Select Devices, the go to Columns/Modify Columns:


select Conversions, and add All Conv. Value / Cost.

> This will give you the ROAS metric. Now click on the column header for All Conv. Value / Cost to sort by ROAS.

> Find the first Device line and look at the ROAS number and then look at the matching Bid Adj. Percentage.

Examples:
– If your target cost of revenue is 20% that should match up with a ROAS of 5.
– If your ROAS is 10, then your Bid Adj. should be 100% (double the bid).
– Alternatively, sort by the bid adj. column (click twice to make it descending), and then look if the bid modifier matches the performance of that campaign.

Consider that this quick analysis gave you relatively high-level information for the campaign. Imagine what discrepancies and opportunities you will find if you drop down to a keyword or PLA level!

Finally, each click that you buy has many variables that must be adjusted to reflect the true value of that next click. Each variable (PLA, keyword/match type, device, audience, location, etc.) has a major impact on the final outcome and the value. Once you know how each of these variables influence the value of that next click, then you need to act on it.

Being able to act on it is the hardest part. There is so much going on in that microsecond before the click is purchased that it’s humanly impossible to manage in real-time. Truthfully, there is only one way to manage it: by using software. Call it automation, programmatic, or machine-learning, this is how advertisers are successfully buying profitable clicks nowadays.

When it comes to using granular and accurate information about each specific click being purchased, advertisers are at a huge disadvantage. The Search Engine giants have all the information. It’s an unfair match. However, there is good news for advertisers: this large gap can be closed by taking advantage of the machine-learning technology that is now available.

This article series will discuss how new technology has started to change the paid search industry, it has started slowly but the industry will see rapid adoption over the next 12-18 months.

I’ll be covering these impactful areas in this article series:
1. Automation,
2. Programmatic approach,
3. Machine learning, applications and their impact,
4. Campaign/keyword/PLA structure, build and maintenance automation,
5. Influencing Quality Score in large scale, and
6. How attribution modelling and its application amplifies the above!

A teaser of what to expect in this series:
This graphic shows an account deploying an automated solution to improve Quality Score. This is done by creating growth by increasing the relative number of exact match clicks purchased. It works incredibly well and has helped crack the code to influencing Google’s Quality Score. The details on how to do this will be covered in detail in the “Article 4: Campaign/Keyword/PLA Automation.”

Our industry is ready for an overhaul because of the huge gap between the supply side and the demand side capabilities. Technology advances and new companies offering solutions will be your partners of the future. The days of archaic spreadsheets and limited bidding tools are in the past. Luckily, this solution and technology is available in the market today and for those who made the change they are seeing big rewards.

Finch is one of those companies who can help you with a real solution to an old problem. Recently, Finch was rewarded Google’s #1 Shopping Partner Performance award for its technology-driven solution, based on the execution of the above. Next up: Automation.

Finch will be exhibiting and speaking at eCommerce Show North, EventCity, Manchester on Oct 11&12th 2017.

To Register for Free click HERE

Nublue Kick Off New Clubline Football Website

Lancaster based eCommerce agency Nublue have kicked off a brand new website for football brand, clublinefootball.com. This is following a full redesign using the open source ecommerce platform, Magento.

Clubline offers a wide selection of the leading brands in football such as Nike, Adidas, Prostar and many more. The sports eCommerce site were looking for a site that was modern with a conversion focused layout/design using Magento Enterprise.

The new website is mobile optimised and features impressive new features that allow customers to personalise kits and other clothing items/sports accessories with ease. They can add names and numbers to kits whilst being able to visualise any changes pre-purchase.

Matt Hutchinson – agency head at Nublue, explained more:
“A vital aspect of the rebuild and incredibly important to the client was to make improvements in user experience and make the customer’s path to purchase a smoother and easier route to take. A lot of research went into ensuring that well-informed decisions were made at every stage of the design and layout process. Everything from the site’s navigation to the placement of ‘call to actions’ help a customer easily progress from landing page to checkout.”

The sports eCommerce business have experienced positive results since the launch of the website with impressive improvement statistics. Conversion is up 63.58 per cent and transactions by 41.72 per cent. John Leonard – web manager for the brand seemed to be extremely happy with the outcome. “Nublue are professional in approach and rigorous in application. They’re proving to be a pleasure to work with an excellent partner in our eCommerce related activities”.

Another exciting and successful website launch for Nublue continuing on from their positive start to the year. Nublue will also be exhibiting at eCommerce Show North in October 2017.