In March Instagram introduced a brand-new checkout to their app. Consumers can now buy their favourite products without ever leaving the app, but what does this mean for the Social Media platform? And how could it possibly affect garment decorators?

But there is a catch, for now anyway…

Instragram checkout is only available for several leading global brands such as H&M, Mac, Nike and a few others. But this is seen as the next step in the Instagram strategy, turning influencers and social engagement into sales.

It works by simply attaching a checkout button to posts where customers click and simply fill in their details once and they will be saved for future purchases. This will likely be a popular tool with customers as its an all in one checkout, where your customer information remains secure and purchases can be completed without going to an external site. 


Of course, there are limitations. This feature requires heavy investment and is only currently available to some of the worlds leading brands at a substantial cost.

The biggest drawback however is the customers effectively become Instagram’s as consumers are using their checkout and not the brands checkout. Problematic for businesses looking to manage their sales funnel and manage their conversions the brands currently using the checkout will not be able to identify users, their behaviours or any complex information, they will only receive the basic order details.

While this is only at very early development stages working with big brands, who is to say it won’t be introduced to businesses using Instagram for their Marketing & Advertising?

The garment decoration industry is a highly visual one, companies using Social Media to sell their print and embroidery rely on imagery of previous work and case studies to push their business and their quality. The checkout itself if introduced for small businesses would be an ideal fit for the industry.

With UK businesses already spending millions of pounds on engaging with influencers and Sponsored Online Advertising on Instagram there will be some that will see this as a step in the right direction where you can measure Return On Investment (ROI) can be measured in a more quantifiable way. 

In the last few years the UK has begun adopting a few online trends from the US, namely Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

Love it or loathe it they are the biggest online shopping days of the year and offers online consumers the chance to make huge savings in the build up to the festive period.

With more and more small businesses jumping on board and offering flash sales, bargains and discounts as part of their Marketing for these events ensure your business has the tool to run a flash sale smoothly.

To get the most from these promotions here are a few simple pointers to get you started:

Start planning now: Plan your promotions in advance, build up suspense with your customer base and let them know of any upcoming offers and savings in advance whether its in-store, on Social Media or via an Email Campaign.

Create specific page copy: Plan the products or services you are going to offer savings on. Ensure your website is optimised with product pages for these specific items. Point customers in the right direction and ensure your user experience is customer focused, they are not afraid to shop around when it comes to huge savings!

Create eye catching content: Whether it is for your businesses website, Social Media or to be distributed to your list of customer contacts creating eye catching content significantly increases click through rates.

Plan for an upsurge: Ensure your website can deal with increased volumes of traffic, too many page requests can slow the site down or crash the site itself. Test your website using tools like Loadimpact.com to ensure the server that your hosts your businesses website can take the strain.

Test, test, test: Before any of your promotions, artwork and copy goes live test your processes and ensure your site is fully prepared, functioning and operating as you would expect with the new pages, copy etc. Get another set of eyes from a team member and gain feedback.

Some businesses go as far as offering loyal customers a first glance ‘Exclusive’ access to a flash sale. This is used to gain customer feedback, fine tune and tweak their offering to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible in time for the main event.

Whether you love it or hate it, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are here to stay for the foreseeable future. The chances are if you are not taking part, your competitors are. If you think it would be something that would add value to your business dip your toes in, start planning and prepare a campaign using these few simple pointers.

Technical search engine optimisation (SEO) plays a huge role in determining whether your website is successful or not.

In a nutshell, technical SEO is the efforts of a webmaster or developer to ensure your site is compatible with Google’s many search engine guidelines. It is concerned with the structure and architecture of the site itself. A carefully designed website gives your site the best chance to be indexed and ranked for its key search terms compared to one that is not.


Site Architecture & Crawling

As your business’s website develops over time, the site’s architecture needs to be considered to ensure that Google can regularly crawl, cache and index your pages. Google has little bots and ‘spiders’ which are used to crawl websites, the main one being the ‘Googlebot’ which scans the links from one page to another.

Indexing is how search engines categorise your webpage based on content, links, meta descriptions etcetera. Using an algorithm, they categorise each page in relation to a search term and give it a ranking based on this. Page caching is another method that can help you to improve the load time of your web pages and thus optimise your site for the search engines. Cached pages are served up as static HTML versions of a page to avoid potentially time-consuming queries to your database.

Categorisation

For e-commerce websites, categorisation plays a significant part in the site architecture (and makes user experience much simpler). Careful keyword research and planning should be carried out when planning your site categories – attention should be paid when assigning a URL with crucial keywords as this can play a role in ensuring that specific pages get ranked for your preferred terms.

Site Speed

Site speed is also pivotal for an e-commerce website to perform well in the eyes of a search engine. Customers want a website to be slick, quick and allow them the capability of checking out in a few moments. This can be quite a challenge for the garment decoration industry, where there are thousands of products available.

Costs

The costs associated with managing thousands of products on an e-commerce website on a managed server is high and something that needs to be planned for as part of your ongoing online budget – the common consensus here is less is more.

Show your customer a select group of garments rather than offering hundreds of similar ones will not only ensure that the load time isn’t compromised but will also make for a much simpler user experience.

One Last Thought

 

The best time to take care of the technical aspects of SEO is during the construction phase of the website. Do your research, ask developers the right questions and make sure that the technical bases are covered. Fixing these areas after your site has gone live can be costly and time-consuming.

LinkedIn is the largest online professional Social Media with a global audience of over 450m. A grown-up version of Social Media, professional, slick, modern and you should be part of it too! The ideal social sales tool for you and your business… if you are not on there; you and your business are missing out on the largest B2B networking and one of the largest sales opportunities to high-value customers.

Of course it is a bit different from your conventional day to day Social Media, your Facebook, Twitter and so on so you have to be a bit cuter on how you communicate on there. Its professional socialising, something you do day to day as a business owner but online. Just sell your business, your brand and personality and reap the rewards.

The potential for LinkedIn in the garment decoration is huge. Put simply, creating branded clothing you are always looking for the large value order or the next big contract. The large business clients more often than not account for a large chunk of most garment decorator’s turnover. So it is a bit of a no brainer - LinkedIn gives you a unique chance to create and win these larger orders and opportunities for your business.

Let’s of course not forget the existing customers, connect with these and ‘Network’, give yourself more of a chance of winning the repeat order. Existing customers also have the power to endorse you and refer you to their connections, another potential way of winning business with LinkedIn.

And as if it sounds too good to be true, it just keeps getting better…

In a nutshell, LinkedIn is used by both professionals individually (Managing Directors, Marketing Executives, Business Owners and so on) and businesses themselves. LinkedIn gives you two shots at selling on their site essentially, whether you register as an individual and interact with like-minded people who you think could be your next big potential customers or whether you set up a LinkedIn company page to interact directly with other businesses.

It could not be easier! Set up your profile, write about you, your business and how good you are at what you do and how your products are high-quality then start connecting. LinkedIn allows you to search for both businesses and their workers by location – so get chatting today! Introduce yourself, build up a professional online connection and hopefully when these businesses need branded clothing or similar they know where to go, your business will be the first port of call.


Here are a few little hints & tips to help you on your way to LinkedIn success:

  • Optimise Your Profile: Complete every aspect of your profile. Sell your business, your skills, your quality products and everything about how you can help other businesses. Create engaging pictures, infographics and so on to force someone to want to find out more and connect with you.
  • Find Your Audience: The search function allows you to search by both job title and location. Think to yourself garment decorators, what’s the title of the person I’m going to sell X amount of goods too? Marketing workers, brand workers, managing directors, human resource workers, target as many as possible and aim to build a connection.
  • Join LinkedIn Groups: There are a whole host of groups for business owners to join, industry specific, location specific, interest specific, just general business groups and much more. Join these and interact with people who may be interested in what your garment decorating business has to offer and give yourself more chance of winning that large B2B order.
  • Earn Referrals: Earn some LinkedIn kudos with referrals. This is where existing connections can endorse you your skills and leave reviews giving your profile a little extra touch. Of course the more endorsements and quality reviews you have, the better – why would people who see your page go elsewhere when they see how good a job your business does for others.

With these little bits of advice, your business should reap the rewards of using LinkedIn. Now you have won the order – the next step is retaining them! 

Offer them a USP and high quality experience, the eTrader sites allow customers to have their own public or private shop full of their goods. Professional and simple to use, customers can be checked out in just a few clicks and in a matter of moments.

For more information on how we are helping the garment decoration industry online don’t hesitate to email info@etraderwebsites.co.uk or give us a call on 029 20741 633 today.

Blogging is a great way to raise awareness of your business, your product, it services and develop an online presence. It is simple, effective and importantly anyone can do it, you do not have to be a marketing expert!

The advantage of Blogging is it is all about you. There is only so much you can say in a Facebook post, or 140 characters on Twitter but Blogging allows you to give much more details insight into your business, yourselves and write about what makes you great at what you do.

Blogging & Your Business….

Blogging gives your business a personality, a voice and gives your customers an insight into the business and its values. It encourages collaboration and discussion not just with customers but with other people associated with the industry and helps develop your businesses reputation in the garment decoration industry.

What makes blogging great is the fact it is all about you and your business, you can write about anything. Common things wrote about by garment decorators includes latest news, product reviews, latest offers, promotions, thoughts and opinions on what is affecting the business.


Creating Engaging Content…

Write about your business, simply write about its strengths and why it is great is and why you love print, embroidery, the industry and your customers.

But the key is to make the content interesting and stand out from your competitors, here are some simple tips to help:

  • Create an eye catching title for your Blog (N.B. Just think what would you click and read plus what would you ignore).
  • Use images, just a few pictures to support the blog you are writing. Using an image increases the likelihood of catching a reader’s attention.
  • Tag your blog, this categorizes your blog. Readers can filter through and find your thoughts on a specific topic.

·       Do not make your blog too long! There is a fine line between engaging and boring a reader. Make your blog concise and to a point, many readers will not read essays. Your blog can be any length but be wary of boring the reader.

·       Blogging is fun, customers love honesty, your views and thoughts are much more likely to create engagement then writing something with no personality. (You want to give your business some character after all).

Blogging & SEO….

Using a Blog is also a great way to improve your businesses performance in Search Engines. It is a simple way of writing about your keywords and gaining some links back to your site from people who love your content sharing it!

One Last Thought…

You can of course integrate a blog into your website using a bespoke web design company. But, there are a wide range of FREE blogs out there for your business including Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger, Medium, Weebly and 100s more. Blogging is a cost effective way of growing your online presence, developing an online personality and increasing traffic to your website. 

So what are you waiting for…. Get Blogging!