Getting Started Selling Online

It’s finally time to launch that eCommerce business that you’ve been thinking about for years. Setting up your website can feel like a daunting endeavor, but this process can be broken down into small manageable steps. This guide will support you in building your website and have you well on your way to your first online sale!

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Choosing a Platform
  • Theme & Brand
  • Adding Products
  • Shipping & Taxes
  • Email Marketing
  • Conversion tips

Already have a website and want to add an online store? If your website is built with WordPress, Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix they can pretty easily add that component. If not, you would have to set up an online store & link to it from your existing site. Questions? Ask us.

Choosing a Platform

The first part of this journey is choosing the appropriate platform to host your eCommerce website. There are a multitude of options! Among the most popular are BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce (WordPress), Squarespace, and Wix.

Pricing

One of the first things to consider when choosing a platform is pricing. Most companies charge a monthly fee to host your website. In order to accommodate the needs of diverse business, many platforms offer a tiered system of pricing. There is a base product that’s offered and then the price increases when additional features are added. When researching different tiers it is good to maintain a clear vision of your company’s needs. Often first and second-tier options fit the needs of an online store beginner as it covers the basic functions while you navigate online business.

Plugins

The next thing to consider are the plugins that are offered by each platform. A plugin is a software component that adds a specific function to a computer program. For example, there is a plugin I like called smile.io that allows you to set up your own branded rewards program and use that on your website. There are also plugins that help with marketing, fulfillment, data transfer, and other services for your website. Websites ordinarily offer a list of plugins that are compatible with their software. Here you’ll find an example of this type of list for the company BigCommerce. Not all plugins will be right for your brand, so, again it is important to be mindful of your companies specific online goals. 

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process to help increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website. Building a strong SEO for your website can be a complex and ever-evolving process. The most important things to consider when you are starting out are a platform that allows you to have a custom domain name, captions/descriptions of photos, and a platform that allows you to convert SEO URL structures. If you’re new to SEO there are applications and plugins that will help you start out. We suggest checking out Yoast SEO if you are using WordPress.

Customer Service

Finally, implementing a customer service function will be instrumental early on in case any issues arise for shoppers. Issues with online shopping could range from photos not loading to the homepage to customers not being able to submit payment when checking out. Whatever the issue is, we recommend finding a platform that offers 24/7 customer support. For more information on choosing the best-fitting platform, check out our article here. 

Theme & Brand

Once you have chosen a platform, it’s time to move onto the theme and overall brand of your business. Themes are used to make your website aesthetically pleasing while also providing an organized design for you and your customers. Themes help to set up your store quickly and avoid fees associated with web design. Many of the eCommerce platforms we mentioned above offer both free and paid themes to choose from. 

Choosing a theme is similar to choosing a platform. Themes are meant to serve your company’s unique needs! We listed below aspects that are important to consider when choosing a websites theme:

  • Themes that are mobile friendly 
  • Support SEO
  • Menu Navigation
  • Allows you to customize 
  • Has technical support 
  • A theme that your targeted customers will enjoy

Below we’ve provided an example of theme options through the themes at BigCommerce. You’ll notice, there are filters you can set for your specific requirements in order to sift the large selection and find the best fit.

Branding is the process of creating a strong and positive perception of the company. Your theme and website layout will be a reflection of your brand. When building your website consider your target demographic and how you want to present your company. Make sure to fill your website and theme with photos and styles that you would associate with your brand. Consult a few friends or fellow entrepreneurs to see if they agree with your branding before you publish and go public. 

Another consideration when creating your brand is the importance of consistency. Maintaining similar brand strategies for your website, social media channels, and advertisements makes you memorable. Developing your brand will continue as long as the company does, so you can expect evolution over time. However, creating a solid baseline strategy before you launch the website will be highly beneficial.

Adding Products

Once you have started building your website, it’s time to add product photos to your website. Customers are going to want to see what they are purchasing before they spend their money. Effective use of photos can help to increase sales and draw attention to the products.

Before you add the photos, you first have to take them. There are a few options when considering what camera to use. The first is using a smartphone camera and the second is a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR). DSLR cameras are high performing, quality camera. DSLR cameras have multiple lens options that allow you to customize photos for specific product photos. These cameras are great, but they aren’t necessary for taking product photos. While smartphones may not have the same capacity as a DSLR, they have come a long way. We recommend exploring what settings and capabilities your smartphone has to produce excellent photos. It will save money to start there.

Once you have the camera, it is time to take the photo. Background is an important aspect that is sometimes overlooked. There are two types that we are going to cover the first are white backgrounds, and the second are lifestyle backgrounds.

  1. White backgrounds

White backgrounds are exactly like they sound, they show the product and the entire background is white. This is used to highlight the product from multiple angles. Setting up white backgrounds has become increasingly easier over the years. If you have smaller products you can purchase a portable studio box that has a white background. It is essentially an enclosed box with one opening for you to place products on the inside. It has its own lighting and makes the photo-taking process quite easy. If you have larger products, we suggest getting a roll of deli paper using this as a background. Below is an example of a jacket with a white background. 

  1. Lifestyle backgrounds

Lifestyle backgrounds are used to help highlight the intended use of the product. For example, if you’re shopping for a sleeping bag to use when camping, the company might have a photo of an individual using the sleeping bag in the wilderness. This attaches an image of use to the consumer’s mind, while showing off the product’s capabilities. The photo below shows a lifestyle photo of a sleeping bag from Sierra Designs. 

Finally, lighting can affect the final outcome of the product photo. Natural light often looks great but can be inconsistent and hard to come by. Using natural light requires the photographer to have flexible availability as the weather won’t always corporate. As mentioned above, you can use a lighting box if you have smaller products. If you are shooting photos for larger products we recommend that you use strong 5000k bulbs, and make sure that all of the bulbs are the same color! Avoid lighting in a way that casts shadows on the surface of the product. Placing the light source behind the camera should minimize most shadows. Additional photo advice can be found here.

Shipping & Taxes

SHIPPING

Shipping is an interesting aspect of the eCommerce world. It is the one aspect that you, as a business owner, do not have 100% control of as you are not physically there to deliver the product. So, you’ll want to make the process as seamless as possible. A bad delivery could be the difference between a customer reordering or recommending your business or deciding not to. 

The first steps that we recommend here at Uptown Cow is to decide what type of shipping you want to offer to your customers. There are three basic types of shipping that we recommend considering. 

  1. Free Shipping

This is exactly what it sounds like. For this first shipping type, you offer free shipping to your customers. This is important to consider if you will be competing with a tech giant like Amazon. They are notorious for free 2-day shipping for certain customers, and others are starting to follow along. Consider the costs that you will incur by offering free shipping to your customers. Another consideration for free shipping is to have a minimum order value to qualify for free shipping. Having this order value encourages customers to spend more on your website.

  1. Flat Rate Shipping 

Flat rate shipping is a simple way to offer shipping to customers. You can set up one or two rates that are available. You can have a cheaper option with a longer deliver time, and a more expensive option with a quicker deliver. This allows the consumer to choose the shipping method that works best with their timeline. Flat rate shipping is an affordable approach for businesses providing shipping.

  1. Real Time Shipping Rates (Carrier Calculated)

Plugins and applications can provide a great deal of support in shipping There are specific shipping applications that are capable of calculating shipping rates in real-time. After the customer has entered the shipping location, the application will consider the distance the package must be shipped, the desired delivery speed, and the weight of the items. Using these variables together the program will compute a shipping price for the customers. From there the customer is able to adjust the variables to end up at a price that they are happy with. 

These programs will also give the customer an estimated delivery date for their package. This gives the customer a better idea of when to expect the package and to adjust the shipping if they need it any earlier. 

Packaging

Luckily packaging is much easier than setting up shipping. This, like many other parts of eCommerce, depends on the types of products that you’re selling. Hypothetically when your product is packaged it should be able to survive a drop of a few feet, just in case this happens on the journey to its final destination. 

There are multiple ways to package your items. Some companies wrap their products in a single box, and surround the item with packing peanuts or a similar protective product. Some companies use air filled plastic bags or bubble wrap. For more fragile items, you should consider a two box packing solution. This is essentially a box inside of a box, to offer additional protection to the product during shipping. When considering the two box solution you should note that the package will be heavier and it will be more expensive to ship.

Taxes

Taxes, one of our favorite parts of having an eCommerce business!! Just joking, but it is a very important aspect of selling products online. With newer laws & regulations, this is often overlooked. Luckily, many platforms offer automatic tax calculations based on where your customers are. The steps you take to include taxes are specific to your products so our main bit of advice is simply to not forget them!

Email Marketing

Your website is all set up, congrats! Now it’s time to start pushing conversions on your website. A reliable form of communication with your customers is through email marketing. Email is still one of the most used forms of online communication and can be a very profitable practice when done effectively. There are two helpful types of emails to use when you are launching a new website.

The first is welcome campaigns. Welcome campaigns are sent to a customer when they first acquire their email address. We suggest that the first email should have a short description of your company and a message of gratitude for subscribing to emails. After this, you should add labeled photos of products with short descriptions to draw the customer in. You may consider placing a few product reviews in the email as well. Welcome emails allow you to highlight some of the most popular products your unique brand has to offer.

The second campaign that you should set up are abandoned cart emails. These messages are sent to the consumers when they place a product in their cart and then exit the website. It is a message to remind them that they have a product waiting for them that is intended to convince them to complete their transaction. These messages can be sent in many different ways, knowing your customer demographic will help to find the best message. 

You will want to set up a timeframe for when the messages should be sent. Some companies do it a few hours after the customer leaves the website, others will wait a day or two. Adjust the time frame and see what works best for your company. Once you find the right timeline, the emails will be sent automatically. If you have multiple demographics visiting your site you can make multiple, more specific, abandoned cart campaigns. 

The hardest portion of abandoned cart emails is that you will already need the contact information of that customer prior to sending the email. This means that the customer will already have to be an existing customer, have an account on your website, or have subscribed to your newsletter. 

Conversion tips

We cannot emphasize enough the relevance of conversion. A conversion is more than just a customer checking out with a product in their cart. A conversion rate could be:

  • Product added to cart 
  • A completed transaction
  • Email signup 
  • Sharing a product on social media 
  • Many more statistics

It is important to know when starting out, that most conversions are quite small, around 1-2% for the average company. If you believe your conversions are quite low, don’t worry! The online marketplace is a very competitive place. If you’re wondering how to find and analyze conversion rates, we recommend using Google Analytics, we have more info on that here. It is also important to note that other companies will have their own analytic software to play around with as well, BigCommerce Analytics is a strong and reliable analytic program. 

Now we do have a few tips to help you get your conversion rates up on your website.

Email Pop Ups

If you’re looking to get more emails from your customers, an effective tool to use is email pop ups. These are pop ups that appear on the screen when a customer first enters a website, usually on the homepage. They are used to gather information by offering an incentive for filling out the appropriate information. For example, some companies will offer a code for free shipping or a percentage off of their first order. These pop ups take up a large portion and don’t disappear until the customer either click out or if they enter their information. This is a fantastic way to get individuals signed up for a newsletter. Take a look at your email and notice how many companies you get emails from that were likely the result of homepage pop ups!

Live Chat

This is a great tool that many eCommerce sites have started to use. Live Chat helps to increase multiple types of conversion. Live chat can be used to help shorten the entire sales process. It provides customers with a quick way to communicate with your brand and to get questions answered, it’s much quicker than email. 

Another great thing about Live Chat is that you can integrate artificial intelligence (AI) to work with your program. This will allow you to set up automated responses to customers when there isn’t an actual human to respond to the customers. The AI can collect information and schedule a specific time to speak with a representative from your company. A negative part of the bots is that they usually can’t recommend a specific product and don’t usually close a deal. If you don’t feel comfortable using AI you can always restrict the hours that customers are allowed to use the chat features on your website. Make sure the whichever chat system you choose integrates with your platform.

Listed below are a few live chat softwares that you should check out:

  • LiveChat
  • Tidio 
  • Facebook Live Chat
  • Zopim
  • Olark

Wrapping up

After all that hard work, you should have your website set up and ready to go! Your journey to eCommerce greatness has just begun, but hopefully now you’re feeling better about your website and your online business. We hope that this guide helped you and answered and potential questions that came up. If you’re looking for additional information on setting up an eCommerce website you can check out our articles here. If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to our team at any time. 

BBQ Beef and Beans

Serve these sweet, tangy, and savory BBQ Beef and Beans with rice and cheese for a simple and comforting weeknight dinner the whole family will love.

PREP TIME: 5 mins

COOK TIME: 25 mins

SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS

1 Tbsp cooking oil

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1/2 lb. ground beef

1 15oz. can kidney beans 

1 15oz. can black beans 

HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE*

8 oz. tomato sauce

2 Tbsp tomato paste 

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp brown sugar 

2 Tbsp molasses 

1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder 

1/4 tsp onion powder 

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 

freshly cracked pepper 

salt to taste 

FOR SERVING

4 cups cooked rice 

4 oz. shredded cheddar 

2 green onions, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

Add the oil and minced garlic to a large skillet. Sauté the garlic for one minute over medium heat. Add the ground beef and continue to sauté until cooked through. If using a higher fat content beef, drain the excess fat before moving on to the next step.

Rinse the two cans of beans, then drain them well. Add the beans to the skillet with the ground beef.

Add the ingredients for the Homemade BBQ Sauce to the skillet (tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and some freshly cracked pepper).

Stir and cook the mixture until the sauce ingredients have combined and created a thick sauce. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer and then simmer the beef and beans in the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring often. Taste the sauce and add salt to taste (I added 1/2 tsp).

To serve the BBQ Beef and Beans, place 1 cup cooked rice in each bowl, top with 1 cup of the BBQ Beef and Beans, then top with about 1/4 cup shredded cheddar and a sprinkle of sliced green onion.

NOTES

*To make this recipe faster and easier, substitute 1 cup of your favorite bottled BBQ sauce for the homemade BBQ sauce listed above.

Source: BudgetBytes

Greek Salad Tacos with Cucumber Dill Dressing

We’re not sure if this is more of a salad or taco but either way it’s delicious. They’re a nice light dinner or lunch option that’ll leave you feeling like you’re on the Mediterranean coast.

Greek Salad Tacos with a Cucumber Dill Dressing and Grilled Chicken. {The Creativity Exchange}

Recipe Serves 4 (8 tacos)

Ingredients

2 Cups Grilled Chicken
4 Cups Cut/shredded Romaine Lettuce
1 Cup Diced Tomatoes
3/4th Cup Diced Cucumbers
1/4th Cup Diced Cilantro
1 Cup Feta Cheese Crumbled
1/2 Cup Sliced Black Olives
1/2 Cup Ken’s Greek Dressing
1 Cup Dannon Oikos Dips Cucumber and Dill (sold in the refrigerated section with the party dips)
8 Flour Tortilla’s

Instructions

Toss all of the ingredients together for the salad except leave the feta and the cucumber dill dip/dressing until you get the salad into the tacos.  The cucumber dill dip is made by Dannon and is an Oikos dip that has become a favorite of mine.  If you’ve never tried it before, it’s sold in the refrigerated section with the other party dips but its a Greek yogurt dip.  If for some reason you cannot find it, you can mix together dill weed, plain greek yogurt and little hint of salt for a similar dip.

If you’ve never tried a refrigerated tortilla before that has to be cooked, let me tell you that it’s life changing.  All you have to do is heat them up for about a minute on each side and they are unbelievable good and light.  It’s all I will use now.

After you toss the salad, fill your tortillas with the salad to make each taco and top with the feta and drizzle of the dip and you are good to go.  If you want to make these for dinner and grill your own chicken, the Ken’s Greek Dressing is the best marinade for chicken!

Source: The Creativity Exchange

Tempeh Burrito Bowls

This week we’re switching it up with a Tempeh Burrito Bowl that’s totally homemade and totally delicious. Feel free to customize this as you please with different vegetables or meat substitutes.

 Prep Time: 15 mins  Cook Time: 20 mins  Total Time: 35 mins

Ingredients

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 sweet potato (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil

Seasoned Tempeh*

  • 8 oz. tempeh
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly cracked pepper

Bowl Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice the sweet potato into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the cubes out onto a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, then toss to coat. Season with a pinch of salt.
  • Roast the sweet potatoes in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, stirring half way through. Once roasted, set aside.
  • While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the seasoned tempeh. Crumble the brick of tempeh into a skillet. Add the water, oil, tomato paste, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill). Stir briefly to combine.
  • Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat on to medium. Allow the skillet to come up to a simmer. Let the tempeh simmer, stirring every few minutes, for about 10 minutes total, or until the liquid reduces to a thick sauce.
  • While the tempeh is simmering, slice the avocado and jalapeño. 
  • To build the bowls, place 1 cup cooked rice in the bottom of each bowl. Divide the seasoned tempeh, roasted sweet potatoes, corn, and avocado between all four bowls. Top each bowl with 1 to 2 tablespoons of salsa, 1 tablespoon of sour cream, and a few slices of jalapeño. Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

For pictures and more information check out the original recipe at BUDGETBYTES

Baked Beef and Black Bean Tacos

Baked Beef and Black Bean Tacos are a fast and easy way to take Taco Tuesday to the next level and is the perfect fast and easy weeknight meal.

Prep Time: 15 mins  Cook Time: 20 mins  Total Time: 35 mins

Ingredients

Taco Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper

Tacos

  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef (93% lean or higher)*
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 box 10 hard taco shells
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar (4oz.)

Optional Toppings

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 jalapeño
  • Handful fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the taco seasoning, then set the seasoning aside (or use one envelope of store-bought taco seasoning). Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and cooking oil to a large skillet. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the ground beef and prepared taco seasoning and continue to sauté until the beef is cooked through (another 5 minutes).
  • Arrange the taco shells in a casserole dish so they are all standing upright. If you do not have a dish that fits them snuggly enough to hold them up, use balled up aluminum foil to act as “book ends” to help hold the line of tacos upright.
  • Drain the can of black beans well, but do not rinse them. A little sauciness helps keep the beef mixture moist.Stir the beans into the seasoned beef and allow them to heat through.
  • Fill the tacos with the beef and bean mixture. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over top. Bake the tacos in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the taco shells are golden brown on the edges.
  • While the tacos are baking, dice the tomato, slice the jalapeño, and roughly chop the cilantro leaves. Sprinkle the diced tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro over the tacos, and add a dollop of sour cream just before serving.

NOTES

*If using a higher fat beef, brown the beef without the taco seasoning first, then drain the excess fat. After draining, add the taco seasoning and sauté for about one minute more before moving onto the next step.

Source: BudgetBytes

The 6 Emails Every Ecommerce Store Needs

Consumers are becoming more alert and aware of what you send to their inbox. They are sick of spam email! Sending creative and strategic emails can ensure that your emails stand out among the thousands of emails received by your busy consumer daily. Creating captivating emails gives the consumer the incentive to open that email rather than continuing to scroll by. Sending effective emails will help increase traffic and sales to your website.

Who is this for: This article is for online businesses that are looking to increase sales and visits to their website from automated emails. This could be used by business owners, marketing directors, marketing agencies, and more. This article will help you understand why these emails are important and provide helpful tips to get started. It will also allow you to make adjustments to existing email templates to help you get the most out of every email.

Grab your Email Templates!


In order for new email campaigns to work you should have an established website with products or services that are available to customers.

Listed below are six of the crucial emails that will increase your email efficiency when sending them to customers. Under every email there will be examples and tips to help you get the most out of each email template. If you want additional examples, you can sign up for our templates here.

Welcome Email:

A welcome email has become a standard across online marketplaces. Shortly after signing up for an account, a websites newsletter, or making a purchase, the customer will receive an email thanking the customer and telling them more about their brand or service. Normally this will be the first official form of contact that a business will have with a prospective customer.

It is important to note that this email will set the tone and expectations for other emails you send in the future. This in return will help to influence the consumer to open future emails from you. What makes a great welcome email? Here’s what we think:

  • Promptness
  • Include a brief and appealing overview of your business
  • Be Gentle on selling products
  • Include brand imagery
  • Track open rates to see what is working and what is not
  • Offer opt-in rewards for signing up, such as a first order discount
  • Add social media information in the email

Welcome Email Example:

Listed below are a few examples of welcome emails. The first email is from Vermont Smoke & Cure. This email uses a pun to engage and make consumers see their sense of humor. The email has a nice photo highlighting the examples of the product that the company sells. It also shows how consumers can use the product, pairing meat with hummus and vegetables. Provided in this first email is a coupon code that can be applied for 10% off their first order, to incentivize a product purchase.

The next email is from Hulu, a movie and television streaming service. This email thanks the user for signing up and welcomes them to the service. It provides a concise overview of the service and then has photos to engage the consumer. Hulu also added a silly catch phrase at the bottom “Get your TV on” to encourage the customer to start using the service right away.

The welcome email sent by Uber, a transportation network company, is one of my favorites. It thanks the consumer and provides a short description of the service. It also includes a photo of the application, to give the customer an idea of what it looks like. A link is also provided so consumers can download and start to use the application immediately.

Abandoned Cart/Browse Abandonment:

No company benefits when a customer adds a product to their shopping cart, but doesn’t follow up with the purchase. The good thing is, it shows that the customer expressed interest in that product. Abandoned cart emails recapture the consumer’s interest and will hopefully create a sale. Some companies will send these emails a few hours after not purchasing, while others will wait a few days.  The ideal timing of abandoned cart emails depends on each company and the way that your customers engage with your emails. Below are tips and tricks to send successful abandoned cart emails.

  • Emphasizes “low quantities in stock”
  • Includes multiple photos of the product
  • Provides a link to access the abandoned cart
  • Gives contact information to answer any questions or doubts the consumer might have
  • Insert catchy phrases to pull the customer back into the process

Abandoned Cart Email Example:

Above is a simple yet effective email sent from AirBnB, a peer to peer marketplace where you can rent out houses and apartments. From previous searches on the website they were able to see what location/time frame the consumer was looking at. It is a friendly reminder to continue planning their trip and to influence the consumer to book through AirBnB. Abandoned cart emails are great because you can quickly adjust the elements to reflect the searches and experiences that other customers are searching.

This next email is from an e-commerce general store. The emails starts off with their logo, and immediately tells the customers that they left something in their cart. A photo of the forgotten photo is pictured to remind the customer of the exact. Paired with reviews of the product to help influence the customer and to show them the positive experience of others.

Grab your Email Templates!

Order Confirmation:

This is another standard that consumers are now expecting from ecommerce websites. Once an order is placed, it is important to quickly process the initial request and confirm the order to the customer. In this email you can describe the next steps in the order process and ways for the customer to track the progress of the shipment. Many companies will send an additional email once the item has been successfully shipped.

Order confirmation emails provide an opportunity for extra brand promotion. You could highlight similar products, or other services provided by your company. Here are a few tips to help you send order confirmation emails to customers.

  • Send them shortly after you receive the order
  • Thank the customer for placing the order
  • Give them ways to track the shipping/process
  • Include the order number
  • Provide a photo of the product they have ordered
  • Include opportunities for consumers to continue shopping

Order Confirmation Email Example:

This is an email that confirmed the purchase of concert tickets, making sure they display the appropriate artist and date. It added the order number and ways to reach out if there were any issues. It gave the customer all the information they needed and was easy to comprehend.

This receipt from Google is for the rental of a movie. It is similar to a traditional receipt that you would see in a storefront. But it still covers some of the important aspects we covered above. It thanks the customer and provides a description of the rental along with the total cost. Proving that your emails don’t have to be too fancy to be effective! Receiving an email receipt from an online purchase helps the customer keep track of their purchase for their records.

Post Purchase Follow Ups:

Following up with customers shortly after they have purchased a product is an important way to receive feedback on a product/service. You can provide features such as a place to put reviews, to help you sell products. In these emails it can be beneficial to highlight other products that are associated with the product(s) they purchased. Many follow up emails also have a link to direct the consumer back to the company’s main website. Below are tips to help you gain the most out of post purchase follow ups.

  • Send 3-5 days after the customer receives the product
  • Thank the customer for their purchase
  • Ask them to leave a review of the product
  • Provide a link to leave the review
  • Add related products to the email

Post Purchase Examples

Skylynx, a transportation service from Vancouver B.C. to Whistler B.C., sent a follow up email after I had traveled with them. It first thanked me for using their service, and asked me to leave a review of my experience. They didn’t provide any specific link, but they did provide examples of websites I could use to leave a review. It was sent about two hours after I had traveled with them, so they could receive immediate feedback on the experience.

This email was sent shortly after I received a new pair of reflective sunglasses. The company wanted to make sure that I was satisfied with the product, and provided the appropriate contact information for sending questions/complaints. Later in the email they asked for a review and provided the medium of which they would like it written. It was a short but sweet email to help make sure that I was happy with the product.

Educational Content:

These emails offers additional value for your customers while also increasing the feeling of commitment and care to the customer. It expresses your interested about their business and life and aren’t just using them to make some quick cash. The beauty of educational content is that it doesn’t need to follow any rules. It can be anything that you would consider beneficial for your customers and help your customers gain the most they can out of your brand.

You can write articles about multiple use products, show tests on products, best practices, or write a funny write up of how your company started. Educational content can take many mediums including film and writing. Here are some tips and tricks to sending out educational content emails.

  • Send these emails on a regular basis, one or twice a month
  • Include information not obvious to the consumer
  • Providing value to a diverse group of customers
  • Include photos for products
  • Have others in the office create content for these emails

We send out our own educational content emails bi-weekly. We call it Taco Tuesday and it’s filled with helpful marketing information. If you are interested in signing up, you can do so here. Below is an example of a Taco Tuesday we sent our a few weeks ago. We include blog posts, videos, and recipes to help add value to the emails we send. Below are two parts of an email that we sent out a few weeks ago.

If you are interested in getting our educational content, you can sign up here (insert hyperlink here).

Cross-Selling Emails:

Cross-selling emails can be a simple but effective way to persuade a customer to make additional purchases from your brand. By compiling previous purchases you can make useful recommendations for productions that complement or are compatible with their previous purchase. Below are tips to get the most out of your cross-selling emails:

  • Thank the customer for the previous purchase
  • Provide multiple additional items
  • Cross-sell similarly priced items
  • Include pictures
  • Add links to look at the products from the email
  • Make sure products are not drastically different in price

Cross-Selling Example:

This example below is from a shaving service that provides a monthly service to customers. This email sent is a reminder of what the customer was receiving, and provided additional products they could purchase. With this strategic model, a customer can add one, or multiple additional products to their cart. The more they purchase, the higher their investment in the brand becomes. This will lead to an increase in revenue for your company.

Grab your Email Templates!

Wrapping Up:

Emails are one of the easiest ways to increase conversion and traffic to your website from customers already in your system. All six of these emails have provided new options for you to follow up with the customer and keep them coming back to your business. Many of these emails can be automated, which will help you save time and ensure these emails are sent exactly when you want them to be. You can gain our email templates here (insert hyperlink) to start sending emails to customers right away.

Blackened Salmon Taco Recipe

When days in the park and on the beach are being put on the calendar, I always start thinking about the beloved seafood taco. Hopefully this recipe becomes one of your favorite summer dishes!

Note: If you don’t have Cajun spice, you can make your own! Just stir together some salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and dried oregano before rubbing it on the salmon.

Ingredients For Salmon

1 lb. salmon

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. Cajun spice

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients For Salsa/Serving

1 cup diced pineapple

2 ripe avocados, diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

2 small tomatoes, diced

Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges for serving

Freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish

6 corn tortillas, warmed or grilled

Instructions

Pat salmon dry, if necessary, then evenly season all sides of the filets with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. When oil is hot but not smoking, add salmon. Cook until deeply golden, about 5 to 6 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until salmon is opaque.

Let rest and cool slightly, then flake into large pieces.

Make pineapple avocado salsa: In a medium bowl, add mango, avocado, onion, tomatoes, and lime juice. Season with salt and toss to combine.

Assemble tacos: Top tortillas with salmon, avocado salsa, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.

Source: Delish

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Ingredients (makes 8 cups)

  • 12 large tomatoes, halved and seeded, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1 large sweet yellow pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 12 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • Tortilla chips

 

Directions

  • Arrange six tomatoes cut side down on a 15x10x1-in. baking pan; drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Broil 4 in. from the heat until skin blisters, about 4 minutes. Cool slightly; drain well.
  • In a food processor, process uncooked and roasted tomatoes in batches until chunky. Transfer all to a large bowl.
  • Place the cilantro, lime juice, garlic, lime zest and remaining oil in the food processor. Cover and process until blended; add to tomatoes. Stir in the peppers, onions, cumin, paprika, chipotle pepper, salt and hot sauce. Let stand 1 hour to allow flavors to blend. Serve with chips.

Source: Taste of Home