This post is part of a weekly series, reviewing new sites launched on Amazon Webstore.
Beantown Bedding has new, interesting products—in short, they’re disposable bedsheets—and they’ve done an impressive job of telling their brand story in a highly-customized site built on Amazon Webstore.
The joy of the new Beantown Bedding site is that it exudes the entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm of its founders. Their story? Two moms, about to send their oldest children to college, are inspired to create these new “laundry-free linens” that are friendly to the lazy college student lifestyle. A page of compelling “gross stats” (people can perspire up to a liter per night!) adds to the story-telling.
Site design-wise, there are a few points that stand out:
- They’ve made the site their own. It’s clear that they started with their own vision, and customized the Amazon Webstore templates until they had what they wanted. The result? A unique, great-looking site.
- It’s sophisticated. Beantown Bedding has managed to keep the focus on their products without making the site overly commercial—they didn’t sacrifice any aesthetics to promote the commerce. By building all the content on the Webstore platform, the transactional part of the site fits in seamlessly.
- There’s some SEO effort, too. While there aren’t a lot of pages on the site, having a separate “sustainability” page may bring in a set of search traffic they might not have had if they’d lumped everything together on the “about” page.
In Their Own Words
Joan Ripple, co-founder of Beantown Bedding, talked to us about choosing Amazon Webstore as their retail channel:
“We chose Amazon.com because we are a startup company and need to generate awareness and scale as quickly as possible. Given Amazon’s reputation, as well as the bundle of services available, it was an easy choice for us. We opted to use FBA, Webstore hosting with Checkout by Amazon, and selling on Amazon.
We expect Amazon Webstore to be instrumental in helping us gain national recognition in a short period of time as it is currently our only channel for retail distribution. Other online retailers have told us that Amazon helped them achieve rapid growth, and we hope to have a similar experience.”
You have likely spent months or years optimizing your website to drive search traffic to your website. As eCommerce professionals we have been conditioned by the online industry and by SEO companies that to sell products we must optimize around this highly coveted search traffic. Previous posts in this blog showed how to gain both search traffic and client conversion value from something as simple as quality product descriptions. With all of this optimization focus, can we apply these principles to our social presence as well, and yield new clients and revenues?
With a focused effort on key aspects of your social activities, you likely can! When we talk about optimizing for social we are referring to your social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ (among others). In this post we hope to provide some key insights into how optimizing your social profile can impact your overall results.
Picture yourself shopping in your favorite shopping mall. Once you’re inside one of your favorite stores, take a look around—it’s been optimized for your visual and emotional cues. Savvy retailers have their items displayed in specific locations with imagery that can invoke emotional responses and engagement. Brick and mortar retailers have usually optimized their stores to make sure you don’t leave without buying something. Our optimization efforts online often mimic this approach with driving targeted traffic and leveraging imagery, descriptions and engagement options to move us to make purchases.
On the other hand, think of the purchases you have made because of conversations you’ve had with friends, business associates, or people that you consider an expert. This person may have been raving about a book that changed their life. Based on this testimonial you’re more likely to buy that book. It wasn’t something you planned on purchasing, but you did. Thanks to the power of persuasion and social influences, you were moved to make an unintended purchase. That purchase reached a new audience that would have never been discovered by traditional marketing tactics. This happens every day, so how do you make that happen for you? You need to socially optimize!
Optimizing starts with the implementation of a social strategy. This strategy will be created to drive the right and consistent set of activities for maximized social success. It provides a high-level map for organizational clarity on your overall objectives, expected impact, and resources needed to execute. Once you have this in place you can engage in tactics, measure results, and move to deliver on your objectives.
One of many tactics to support your objectives could be to open a Facebook store. This provides a perfect situation for social conversations about your products, and can even integrate other popular social platforms like Twitter and Pinterest. Look for ways to ignite quality conversations across all of your platforms.
The information you put out in the social universe has to be meaningful and engage your fans so that they will share and engage with you. The social marks and conversations are often included in your search rankings as part of recent updates by major search engines. This can help drive more web traffic to your products and services. Many clients are finding that referral traffic to their websites has been growing from their social sites. Additionally, it provides the opportunity for you to become an authority or expert figure for your brand which can bring more clients to your site.
What does all this mean for you as a merchant? Likely your website does a great job of selling products to your clients when they are in the shopping mall. However, a considerable volume of sales can be influenced during social opportunities such as a discussion with a friend, a business dinner, a cocktail party, on the golf course, and now on social platforms. Without social optimizing you will miss those unique opportunities that can be so meaningful for your business. It may be time for you to tee-off on social selling!
Image credit: Brendan Landis, “Asian Clothing Store” January 2, 2003 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Many of us have found that, in the world of eCommerce, having good product images is essential (In fact, we talked about images a bit in our recent blog post, Increasing eCommerce Conversion: Product Merchandizing). But knowing how to produce those excellent images—especially if you don’t have a professional photographer on staff—can be a bit of a challenge.
Here are a few tips and tricks that can help you create product images that you can be proud of and that your customers may find compelling:
- Make “clean and sharp” your image mantra. Take care to set up the right environment for shooting the photos: a solid white background, good lighting, no shadows or highlights on the product, and with the product itself taking up at least 80 percent of the image area. There are very good resources online that discuss in detail how to configure a photo shoot. For example, take a look at the “Four Steps of Product Photography” section on this page from Smashing Magazine.
- Resist the impulse to purchase high-end photographic equipment unless you have reasons—other than just your eCommerce site—for wanting pricey cameras and accessories. You can produce excellent photos with basic equipment, and you won’t have to worry about the learning curve you’d have to go through to use the complex equipment.
- Consider providing multiple alternate views of the product, taken from different angles or sides, and showing details of the product that might not be clearly visible in the main image.
- If your eCommerce site allows for it (as Amazon Webstore does), include “swatch” images for products like clothing or other items that come in different colors or finishes. The swatch image is a close-up that gives the customer a clear picture of the texture or color of the item.
- Make sure that the images you post include only the item or items that the customer will be receiving. For example, if you include accessories in the image, they ought to be accessories that come with the product rather than accessories that can be purchased separately.
- It may be tempting to jazz up the images by including borders, text, decorations, or animations. But a crisp, simple photograph is almost always a better option. Anything that distracts, or that obscures the product, may cause your customer to choose to search for the product on a competitor’s site. eCommerce is all about trust; customers need to feel certain that what they see in the product image will be exactly what they find in the package that arrives.
- Once you’ve found an ideal size and resolution for your product images, stick to it. Your site will look more professional if all of the images are the same size and resolution.
- Depending on the type of product you’re selling, it may be helpful to include a product image that shows the relative size of the product. For example, if you’re selling a purse, consider including an image of a hand holding the purse.