SEO for Small Business: 5 quick tips to getting optimised for success

Pinpointing the beginnings of Search Engine Optimisation, known as SEO is tricky. Some say it dates back to the term’s first usage in 1997, while others argue that full-fledged SEO began only during the Google boom in the 2000s. Either way, SEO has become a buzzword in today’s digital landscape, especially for businesses. Experts even say that 2022 will be the year that Google My Business becomes the most critical driver of search rankings from TechRound. For smaller startups, this makes SEO a powerful set of practices that can help you thrive in the digital age.

The importance of SEO

Nowadays, SEO is everywhere. Honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to find any online content that doesn’t make use of it. After all, search engine algorithms favour pages or websites that have amassed large amounts of “link equity”. In layman’s terms, this means having a rich web of digital content and links. For businesses, this means that practicing SEO online can help you reach more people organically for less money than traditional digital marketing. If done well, SEO can help increase engagement, traffic, brand recall, and even conversions.

But SEO is more than just about linking. This is especially the case today that search engines like Goole are becoming stricter with backlink quality. Essentially, if your backlinks are too obvious or lack legitimacy, don’t expect to score rank highly on an online search.

Good linking should be relevant to the overall topic, appear naturally within the text, and use long-tail keywords that lead to relevant pages. For instance, in content about “X Best E-Commerce Tips”, you could add a link to a timely statistic that is hyperlinked under “average online shoppers”. Bonus points, if your links are compatible with alt-readers since this lets those with visual impairments enjoy your links, too. Moreover, you can use SEO to highlight direct payment or checkout links leading to payment apps like ours here at Yoco. This way, you can seamlessly provide a better customer funnel even for first-time visitors, and encourage sales.

A less than ideal link is one that is clearly shoehorned in and adds no value to the copy. Think random contact us links or ambiguous anchor texts that say “article here”. Those aren’t doing you or your readers any service since it doesn’t flesh out your text nor encourage readers to click them. While this may be acceptable a few times, if your site mainly uses this type of linking, then you’re not really taking advantage of SEO.

5 SEO tips for small businesses

Refining your SEO can be quite intimidating, especially if you aren’t confident in your technical expertise and if you lack the budget. But if you have a website with some organic traffic, can run Google Analytics, Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, and others. If these sound totally foreign to you, don’t worry. They’re basically all just tools that you can use online that help you track and monitor your website’s performance whilst also updating you on any trending topics or keywords. If that’s not something you’re comfortable using yet, though, don’t worry. If you’ve claimed or created your Google My Business listing, you’ve already got the basics covered.

1. Improve your website

Prioritize your site’s structure, loading speed, security, as well as user experience. If you’re running your site with WordPress, there are already pre existing SEO plugins that you can use. This allows you to apply SEO even without formal training. If you want to go the extra mile, though, you can also go through free website-making courses.

2. Set your location

For many small-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa, the pandemic caused a clear drop in business location visits, especially with the spread of the new variants. By letting Google know your location, you can appear on more local search results. This lets you take advantage of statistics that show 76% of people looking for a business nearby will visit that business within a day. Of those searchers, about 28% will result in someone making a purchase.

3. Write good content

It goes without saying that SEO relies heavily on the content that you put out on your website. Consider your niche and your target market as well, as you’ll have the best chance of making good business with people who are actually interested in your product or service. If you’re looking for a more targeted approach to content, SEO industry leader Ayima highlights how a boutique approach that marries tech with talent can help your content drive serious growth. To do this, many businesses like British Airways use data to finetune their content’s tone and angle. If, however, you want to keep your content in-house, you can always write it yourself. Do review other sites and keep updated on the latest analytics, though, to keep content relevant.

4. Connect to social media

Online magazine Forbes explains that with the rise of the online era, the least you can do is to make sure you’re utilising your social media platforms to boost your website and get people to visit. It’s great for brand awareness and for social ‘proof’, like ratings and reviews. If you’re new to social media, something you should keep in mind is engagement and transparency. People flock to businesses they can connect with online because it fosters a sense of community. At the same time, social media is a cheap and effective way to get a better understanding of grassroots trends. Just remember that your business’s social media, isn’t your personal one. Customers are following you online for your brand, not necessarily for your hot takes.

5. Stay up to date

Lastly, keep your information updated and make sure everything is running smoothly, and check your analytics from time to time. 

Once you invest in optimising your SEO, you just might surprise yourself with the results.

Wrapping up:

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, over 1,000,000 SKU and more. With a successful track record of over 100,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements.

Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses! If you would like to know more details about us, please contact us:  blog.shopshipshake.com. If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on: https://shop.shopshipshake.com/shop/register/business

This article partly refers to: https://www.yoco.com/za/blog/article/seo-for-small-business/

4 Ways SMEs Can Deal With the Energy Crisis While They Await Relief

South Africa’s escalating energy crisis shows no signs of abating with the implementation of Stage 6 load shedding plummeting many parts of the country into darkness last week.

Source:

As the backbone of the country’s economy, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been worst affected by load shedding. Many are just recovering from the pandemic and are now being faced with the devastating effects of having no power for between eight and twelve hours a day.

The government has just announced it is stepping in to take the pressure off SMEs and has instructed the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) to collaborate with various stakeholders and find a solution via an energy relief package. While these talks are ongoing, Eskom announced the devastating news that South Africa will be placed on permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding for the next two years.

In response to Eskom’s latest announcement, small businesses have appealed to the government to consider implementing subsidies on diesel, diesel-powered generators or other alternative energy solutions to help them cope with load-shedding, as many will not be able to survive another two years of constant power cuts.

“The details of the Seda and Sefa-driven packages and how SMEs can claim are not yet available, but relief efforts like this are vital if our SMEs are going to survive the indefinite energy crisis,” says Miguel Da Silva, managing director at Retail Capital.

“We applaud the government for stepping in and hope that the relief package will go some way towards creating alternative sources of energy, recovering some losses, and subsidising existing energy solutions. In the meantime, we encourage SMEs to act now and invest in alternatives if they have the finances available,” he adds.

There are a number of things that small business owners can do to help mitigate the effects of these power outages – the key is to act fast.

Da Silva suggests four ways every SME can and should be dealing with the energy crisis today:

1. Find affordable alternatives

Not all alternative energy solutions are expensive, so do your research and find out which solutions will best suit your business. A small generator or an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for example can cost as little as R900 and can be purchased from high street hardware stores or online.

“They’re not a 24-hour solution but, at the very least, these will provide you with an interim source of power until the lights come back on,” says Da Silva.

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

Battery packs and power banks are also cost-effective options that will help keep your electrical items, Wi-Fi and Pos devices running. “Using battery and power banks can be a juggling act though and you need to remember to keep these charged when the power is back on,” says Da Silva.

Investigating gas cooking solutions is another effective way of maintaining business as usual – or as close to it – for restaurants and other hospitality businesses. “Gas alternatives do require professional installation so make sure you factor in the cost of having it installed by a gas safety engineer who can provide you with the right safety certificates,” advises Da Silva.

2. Get funding to go off-grid

For most SMEs and individuals, ordinary savings won’t even cover the costs of getting off the Eskom grid. If your business premises are mortgaged with certain banks, then you may be able to take further financing from the bank to pay for these alternative energy solutions.

Several banks have partnered with renewable/backup energy providers to provide discounts to their customers. Some may also offer improvement loans for business premises, and this could go some way towards financing an alternative source of energy, like solar.

3. Change the way you work

If an off-grid solution is not financially viable for your SME, then consider investing in a hot desk at a shared office space that’s equipped with a generator.

“The costs can be quite high depending on your location and amount of people working for you, but this could be a worthwhile cost to bear if it means your business won’t be interrupted by outages and ensuring you are still profitable. Smaller teams are also more flexible so consider working schedules that can adapt around load shedding hours,” says Da Silva.f

4. Manage any price fluctuations

“If you are considering the expensive off-grid option, you may need to make realistic price hikes on your goods and services so that you keep yourself in business. However, it is wise to manage any price fluctuations carefully and to be completely transparent with your clients from the get-go. Building in added value for your clients can go a long way towards offsetting any resistance to this,” he advises.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, over 1,000,000 SKU and more. With a successful track record of over 100,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements.

Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses! If you would like to know more details about us, please contact us:  blog.shopshipshake.com. If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on: https://shop.shopshipshake.com/shop/register/business

This article partly refers to: https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/838/235292.html

Opening your online store: Guide to getting started with Shopify in South Africa

Shopify is the fastest growing and most innovative eCommerce platform in the world. Now with over 1 million stores worldwide in 2022 you can be sure you’re in good company when using Shopify. Think of Shopify as the BMW or Audi of eCommerce platforms, it’s not cheap but it’s reliable and powerful.  While some will question the customisability of Shopify it truly has the majority of what you need to out of the box. Compared to open source platforms like Magento, WooCommerce and Prestashop you have the benefit of being supported by a platform that guarantees your site to work. Shopify has become popular enough in South Africa that there’s plenty of agencies and freelancers to support. Local payment and shipping providers have also created enough integrations to ensure your well looked after.  Today we’re going to walk you through getting started with Shopify in South Africa.

Sign Up

Shopify makes signing up easy and risk free. You can get started without committing to a subscription or entering any card details. To sign up simply click the button below and get started. Use our video walkthrough to see how easy signing up is.

Choosing a Plan

As mentioned Shopify offers a free trial for 14 days before you will need to pick a plan. If you are just starting it’s likely the entry level Shopify Basic plan is going to be your best choice at $29 a month (R480). View the breakdown of the 3 plans you can choose from here. We’ve also created this handy calculator that helps you understand the long term costs of using Shopify and at which point it will make sense to switch to the $79 or $299 plan. The major considerations for moving to these plans are the lower payment fees that Shopify charges on top of the fees you will pay your payment provider.

Select a Theme

Think of themes as a style and template for your pages and products. Bundled into a theme are specific layouts for your homepage and other pages. Themes also often have functionality in them such as filters or search. Premium themes often bundle even more features in them that you might otherwise need to accomplish by buying apps eg: product reviews, enhanced filters, expandable menus. While choosing a theme is a big decision it’s something you can always revisit later. Your products, pages, content and blogs will remain as is should you decide to switch themes at a later time.

Shopify offers a ton of high caliber themes for free, choosing what theme to use can be tricky when you are getting started. Some themes cater for specific types of businesses or businesses looking for specific features. To help you choose we’ll share the most popular themes in South Africa below. You can also use our Store Navigator to see what other stores in South Africa are using. 

Store Navigator was designed to help you see real life examples of themes you might consider using. When you head over to the Store Navigator filter as much as you like to narrow down your selection. Keep in mind that even if you choose the same theme as any store there’s still ways to make your site look and feel very different from others. Everything from colours, fonts and layouts are easily changed from the editor (more on that later). Should you be feeling adventurous you can also make changes to the code of your site and theme. Shopify backups your code and settings so tinkering is fully reversible. 

Debut will come pre-installed on your Shopify site. You can browse other free themes by selecting ‘Explore Free Themes’. To try them out you can simply install them. To make changes to the theme you simply click on Customize under ‘Current theme’. 

Top Free Themes in South Africa

1. Debut 
2. Supply
3. Venture
4. Brooklyn
5. Narrative

Top Paid Themes from Shopify in South Africa

1. Prestige
2. Testament
3. Pipeline
4. Empire
5. Blockshop

3. Edit Settings


While Shopify’s default settings cover a lot of bases there are some things to add and change to make the most of your shiny new store!

We’ll take you through it step-by-step. Start by clicking the Settings button at the bottom left of your dashboard.

General Settings

Here you will edit your store name, email and store address. If you’ve changed your store since signing up, feel free to update it now.

The Account email is the email Shopify will send  you notifications through. The Customer email is the one customers will  email you through. 

Enter the Legal name of your business if you have one, and edit your address if needed.

Next is the Standards and formats section, this is where you will set your timezone and information like weight units. The settings should be preset to the metric system, SAST and ZAR. With Shopify you can only have one currency per store so if you intend to sell in a currency other than ZAR this is where you’ll change it. Make sure to click save after making changes to your settings.

Checkout Settings

Under checkout settings, switch Customer accounts to “optional,” and customers can create an account but aren’t required to unless you want to require customers to create accounts, generally this is not advised. 

View the remaining settings on the page and ensure they’re set to your preferences. If you’ve set up Google Analytics or a Facebook pixel, add your custom conversion code in the Additional scripts box.  When you’re done, click Save.

Shipping Settings

This section will require you to have made some decisions about how you are handling shipping. 
1. Are you shipping in your province only, nationally in South Africa and Internationally. For each of those do you want to charge different prices or standardise pricing? 

If you’re dropshipping: you can use “Price based rates.” Someone with a R150 order can pay one rate, and someone with a R300 order can pay a different shipping rate.

Tip: Regardless of how you ship, you can offer free shipping. You build shipping into your pricing and set rules for minimum order. This is likely to increase conversions and average order value. 

For local delivery and local pickup add your address. Shopify has more recently enabled the ability for you to indicate which location your products are based. If you are just getting started this is likely not relevant but down the line who knows maybe you’ll have products in different warehouses or locations.

Plans and Permissions Settings

Shopify allows you to enable different users with access to various functions within the platform. Depending on the plan you are on you will have access to various levels of staff accounts. To add a staff member click ‘Add staff account’.

Legal Settings

Legal settings are not to be overlooked without setting this up correctly, you could be operating illegally.
Every online store needs a Refund Policy, a Privacy Policy, and a Terms of Service (ToS) Agreement.

Fortunately, Shopify can generate one for you based on your settings. Again, remember we are not lawyers and this is not legal advice. Once your store starts generating revenue, I recommend having an attorney review these documents for you.

Simply click the three Create from template buttons under each section.

Next, create pages for each document. Right-click Online Store and open it in a new tab (so it’s easy to copy and paste from the Legal settings page).

Title the first page “Refund Policy”. Go back to your legal settings tab and copy the entire refund policy, then paste it in the new Refund Policy page in the other tab. Click Save. Repeat for your “Privacy Policy” page and “Terms of Service” page.

Preferences

This is the only primary setting that you will not find under the “Settings” page; instead, go to Online Store > Preferences.

First, make sure you edit your store’s meta title and description this is the text that will appears in search engines.

Domains

All stores are automatically assigned a .myshopify domain. To setup a custom domain you can purchase a domain from any provider that allows you to make changes to the domain name server [DNS] settings. You can buy domains directly from Shopify or you can buy a local .co.za domain from GoDaddy for R80. Shopify makes it really easy to connect your GoDaddy domain to your Shopify store. 

If you are torn between using a .com or .org domain vs a .co.za or .africa domain the simplest way to think about this is whether you have plans to focus on South Africa or an international audience. If you have international aspirations for your store then consider going with .com if your focused only on South Africa go with .co.za. 

4. Payments

In South Africa you will need to choose between selling in ZAR or USD.  

To select a payment provider go to settings >> select Payments. You’ll be selecting from third-party payment providers. Here’s your options in South Africa for primary payment providers.
You can compare different plans to choose the one that is suitable for you.

Once you’ve setup your account with one of the providers above you’ll copy your public and secret API keys from your payment provider and copy them into your payment settings in Shopify.

5. Adding Products

Time for the fun part, let’s add products to your store. To get started click Products and Add Product.

Title and Description
Enter your product title and description. 

Images
Make sure your images are high quality, bad images will lead to less sales.

Product type
This is the type of product or category you sell. Product types are one of the ways to create product collections, more on that later.

Vendors
If you have different people selling on your store or want to list seperate brands then consider using Vendors. Otherwise you can leave this blank.

Collections
These are groupings of products that enable you to display products together. You can create collections like Newly Added or Featured to easily create pages with products that you’ve added to a collection.  

Tags
To organise and group products you can use as many tags as you like. These tags can then be used by your customers to find specific products.

Pricing
Your Price is the price customers will pay. Your Compare at price will be shown crossed out next to your actual price to use for price anchoring.

Inventory
Your inventory settings help with keeping track of inventory (shocking, I know!). You can create a custom SKU for your products if you want. Otherwise, you can leave these settings alone.

Variants 
This is where you add variations of your products such as size or color. Eg if you’re selling clothes, you can add size (S, M, L) or color.

6. Creating Pages

You can create pages by selecting Online Store and then Pages. Here’s a few pages you should consider creating: 

A Contact Us page
An About Us page
A Shipping Policy page

Make sure to have a look at the pre-made templates in the drop-down menu under Templates to make this process easier. 

7. Top Apps

Shopify has several thousand apps to choose from many of which are either free or have free trials. Keep an eye on our blog for more information on apps and services. Below are the most popular apps used by Shopify stores in South Africa.

8. Shipping 

South Africa has come a very long way in terms of shipping costs and solutions for eCommerce retailers. We are not going to touch on couriers themselves in this post but below are apps that make it easier for you to create waybills and automate shipping in South Africa with multiple couriers.

9. Selecting Suppliers

Comparing different competitive suppliers in the market and choose a most valuable one is always important when considering product category\ product quality\ the wholesale cost. A good supplier will definitely help you grow your online store compared to your competitors.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, over 1,000,000 SKU and more. With a successful track record of over 100,000 South african clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us:  blog.shopshipshake.com

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on: https://shop.shopshipshake.com/shop/register/business

Article reference: https://ecomm.africa/blogs/guides/getting-started-guide-shopify-southafrica

Get Guidance: 6 Business Plan Software to Help Write Your Future

Writing a business plan is an important but often difficult task for any entrepreneur starting a business. That’s why there are tools to help. If drafting your business plan from scratch sounds too daunting a task to tackle on your own, business plan software can guide you through the process.

Enloop

Business plan software for entrepreneurs who struggle with writing

Enloop business plan software.png
  • Pricing: 7-day free trial; detailed plan is $19.95/month; performance plan is $39.95/month; annual discounts available
  • Money-back guarantee: no, but there are no contracts, you can cancel any time, and there’s a free trial period
  • Capterra: 4 out of 5
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: n/a

Enloop has many of the same features as other business plan software. It automatically syncs financial data and creates financial ratios. And when you write your plan, it assesses it and gives you a performance score, so you can improve it if needed. You can also add users for easy collaboration and sharing. Enloop is especially good if writing isn’t your strong suit, as you can plug in your metrics and let the software do the “writing” for you.

PlanGuru

Best business plan software for planning, forecasting, and scenario analysis

PlanGuru business plan software.png
  • Pricing: 14-day free trial available; app and desktop require separate subscriptions at $99/month each, plus $29/month per additional user; discounts available for annual billing
  • Money-back guarantee: 30-day money back guarantee
  • Capterra: 4.2 out of 5
  • G2: 3.5 out of 5
  • Integrations: Xero, QuickBooks, Microsoft Excel

PlanGuru is a straightforward business plan software with most, if not all, of the features you’d expect. Budgeting, forecasting, financial reports and analytics, and strategic planning features are included, and PlanGuru excels in scenario analysis. While PlanGuru allows for additional users, each user also comes with an incremental monthly fee.

GoSmallBiz

Best budget-friendly, contract-free business plan software for new businesses

GoSmallBiz business plan software.png
  • Pricing: plans start at $15/month; Go service plan for $199/year; Guide service plan for $49/month; Grow service plan for $39/month; additional one-time services and recurring subscriptions available
  • Money-back guarantee: n/a: GoSmallBiz doesn’t require any contracts
  • Capterra: n/a
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: Mailchimp

GoSmallBiz has industry-specific templates to kickstart writing your business plan—especially helpful if your business idea is for a specific vertical market. GoSmallBiz gives step-by-step guidance, prompts, and tutorials as you build your plan. It also creates financial statements and projections for multiple years, including income statementscash flow statements, and balance sheets.

PlanBuildr

Business plan software with the option to get help from professionals

PlanBuildr business plan software.png
  • Pricing: free trial available; annual subscriptions available; PlanBuildr uses a custom pricing model; rates aren’t readily available on its website, but one landing page prices the business plan software at $3,500
  • Money-back guarantee: n/a
  • Capterra: n/a
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: integrations across accounting, CRM, and marketing

PlanBuildr is another user-friendly business plan software for people who aren’t comfortable with writing. It uses a fill-in-the-blank prompted process to help you build your plan quickly—though a drawback here is your plan may be less comprehensive. There are robust financial features, including charts and graphs and the ability to pull various financial statements. PlanBuildr has 10 business plan designs to choose from, and you can also hire PlanBuildr for additional business plan writing services.

LivePlan

Affordable business plan software with samples and templates

LivePlan business plan software.png
  • Pricing: standard plan is $15/month; premium is $30/month; annual discounts available
  • Money-back guarantee: 60 days
  • Capterra rating: 4.5 out of 5
  • G2 rating: 4 out of 5
  • Integrations: QuickBooks, Xero, open API

Owned by Palo Alto Software, LivePlan has more than 500 sample pages and plans to start with. Get step-by-step guidance on how to write your plan and use templates for different types of business plans, making it easy to tailor your plan to your needs. Note that some users have reported issues using the financials section and difficulty creating graphs and other visual elements. LivePlan is one of the most affordable business plan software on this list.

Bizplan

Business plan software for startups seeking investment

Bizplan business plan software.jpg
  • Pricing: $29/month; $349 lifetime access; annual discounts available
  • Money-back guarantee: refunds available within 3 days
  • Capterra: 4.4 out of 5
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: Xero, QuickBooks

Bizplan is a business plan software that caters to small businesses and startups seeking external investment. The platform makes sharing your business plan with potential investors easy. It also has tools to aid in fundraising, including the option to share your business plan on the online fundraising tool Fundable. Other standard features include guided prompts and financial tools to help set salaries, forecast revenue, and track expenses.

How to choose a business plan software

While most business plan software can accomplish the same end goal, each has its own pros and cons depending on your needs. The best business plan software for you may be different than the best option for your fellow business owners. When shopping for business plan software, consider the following:

  • Budget. Perhaps most obvious, the business plan software you choose needs to fit within your budget. More advanced features typically mean a higher price tag, so take that into consideration as well. Budget is important but it’s not the only factor in this decision.
  • Users. If you anticipate needing to collaborate on your business plan with a fellow founder, an accountant, or a legal counsel, you’ll want a software that allows multiple users to collaborate. Some software also allow you to add users as viewers, which can be helpful for distributing the plan to shareholders, lenders, or potential investors, for example.
  • Financial reporting. If financial forecasting and reporting are important to you, look for a business plan software that excels in this area. Look for features beyond basic data reporting—you’ll want to find tools that can help with forecasting and data visualization through charts and graphs.
  • Interface. Every tool you use in your business needs to have an interface that’s easy enough to navigate. Software with an unfriendly or difficult-to-navigate interface may make the process of creating a business plan more frustrating than it needs to be.
  • Templates. One of the greatest advantages to using business plan software is access to templates and examples. Some software have templates for all sorts of business plans. If you anticipate needing different plans for different contexts, pay extra attention to this.
  • Integrations. If you have a tightly connected tech stack, it would behoove you to find a business plan software that can integrate seamlessly.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Revealing the Formula of the Most Popular TikTok Ads

On TikTok, it’s already common for users to be filmed growing weeds. Whether it is hard advertising or soft placement, as long as the video content is good enough, there is a chance to catch the eye of the audience and promote their orders to buy.

What does a premium Tik Tok ad video look like? Based on machine learning, we have summarized the most suitable e-commerce and game video advertising formula for the TikTok platform to share with you. Spoiler alert, the following methods are simple and easy to use, you can use them in your next video!

11 TikTok Ideas for Merchants

Show off orders. Showing a business’s orders piling up has become a TikTok trend. The audience doesn’t care if you’re in a huge warehouse or at home. There’s something satisfying about seeing orders come in and packages going out.

TikTok user @itsnatalierogers creatively shows a line of orders, below, for her small business.

Screenshot of a TikTok video of a merchant packing orders

Package an order. Film how you package order and what goes inside. Tag in the video the TikTok user who will receive it. This helps build community.

User @happyplacebychloe packages an order, below, for another TikToker.

Encourage viewers to shop your small business. It’s more than acceptable to ask your audience to shop small. A good way to do this is to show what a purchase means to you and how it impacts your life. When people see that a $200 order can mean a new baseball outfit for the owner’s child, it builds heart and community.

Post a how-to. Something that seems easy and familiar to your business can be foreign to shoppers. Show them how to use your product, even if it’s as simple as how you wear a scarf you’re selling. Viewers want to see how you do it.

Introduce yourself. Let your followers see who’s behind the scenes. Say “Hello!” to new followers. Have a small team behind you? Introduce them, too. This can help you appear approachable and likable, which never hurts sales, especially on a social platform.

Answer FAQs. Let your audience choose your content. Create a video asking followers to send questions. Then create videos with the answers.

The trend is to include the text of the user’s question on the video. It connects with the questioner and provides social proof that your product is in demand, which helps sell more.

Fashion designer and user @nene_la_shiro, below, answers a question on video.

Screenshot of a TikTok video of a user answering a question

Share your history. TikTok is filled with inspirational videos of how everyday people built their dream business. Share your story in a quick video.

TikTok user @shopthesedays shares the journey of growing her online boutique, below.

Screenshot of a female describing her online boutique business.

Share product info. Have an ongoing sale? A new promotion? Something was out of stock but just came back in? Let your audience know. This is easy content. However, post-non-promotional videos, too, so your audience doesn’t get saturated with product pitches.

Take a tour. Give your audience an exclusive glimpse of where the magic happens. Whether it’s a home office, an external workspace with employees, or a “day in the life” where you record your tasks, people love going behind the scenes.

TikTok user @taylerbradford shares an inside look at her home office, below.

Screenshot of a video of a TikTok user showing her home office.

Show your products. Use trending sounds and entertaining ways to show off your products. Followers will not likely see all of your videos. Post often so they can understand what you sell.

TikTok user @sisoanscent uses a compilation of product photos, below, to show off her candle jars.

Screenshot of a TikTok video from a seller of candles.

Host a giveaway. It’s never a bad idea to give back to your followers. Host a product giveaway by encouraging them to make a video with an on-brand hashtag or to tag their friends in your video — anything to grow your audience. Then pick a winner.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Future-proof Tips for E-commerce Small Business

Ecommerce is an always-changing business, as long as the digital world and devices are changing and becoming more and more practical, an online store must keep up with that, to be relevant as well as closer to its potential customers.

In this article, we’ll explain the most up-to-date timeless eCommerce tips for you to keep your online store relevant, and boost your performance.

Let’s start Ecommerce Tips:

Make a good first impression

On the first hand, it takes about 50 milliseconds for users to decide if they like your site or not, and on the other hand, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. For this, you want to be as creative as possible, because a first impression can last for years, and it helps you with gaining lifetime customers. 

You need to invest in the best design possible, a reliable eCommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce, the right site structure so you deliver a nice and visually comfortable experience for users, as well as you make a sell.

Be Customer-Centric

The biggest shortcoming of eCommerce business is the inability to let their customers touch, feel and try the product before making a decision. While there is currently no solution for solving this issue, you can cover this deficiency in other areas of your business. 

Some of the best things that attract users and keep them attached to your site are offering the appropriate pricing, giving free shipping, and making the purchase process as short as possible, in addition to making the checkout process easy with simplified shopping carts. 

These extra services and offers keep your customer engaged with your site and motivate them to make a purchase.

Offering eco-friendly shipping is also a good practice, it can shift your brand image. People like to support companies that are doing good and your customers will appreciate that you give them a chance to be eco-friendly.

Be mobile-friendly

A recent study by mobileinsurance.com has revealed that the average person spends almost 100 mins a day on their mobile device. Do you think you were there during that time? Or let me ask you, is your site mobile friendly so people can browser it during that 100 min per day?

Bill Siwicki of Internet Retailer references Goldman Sachs, saying, “Tablets will play an increasingly important role as worldwide consumer spending via mobile jumps from $204 billion in 2014 to $626 billion in 2018…”

That means if you aren’t building eCommerce businesses with mobile in mind, you may be irrelevant in three to five years. Be next to your potential customers, if they’re on mobile, that’s where you should be too.

Align yourself with social media

Neglecting social media or being socially absent, is one of the worst decisions ever for your online business. Social media plays the role of the heart of your business, as it gives you an endless uninterrupted glance into the lives of your customers.

You shouldn’t only involve a community manager, it is preferred that you also be present there, social media can be a core of decision-making for your business.

Try OrangeTwig for automating your social media marketing. It is an incredibly powerful marketing app that automatically fits your products into compelling, professionally designed layouts and promotes these on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

It keeps track of each channel’s best practices and schedules the frequency and timings of posts accordingly. And if you’re interested in growing your Instagram followers and engagement, then it’s a must-have app.

OrangeTwig’s InstaSuccess ToolKit will help you get the right hashtags for your posts, make your posts clickable and comment on posts – while being fully compliant with Instagram’s policies.

Talking about Instagram and its evolution to support eCommerce business, there was an announcement that the Instagram company is creating a 50 person team in New York just to focus on eCommerce features for the app. If there was ever a time to double down on social, it’s now and it’s Instagram.

Here are a few quick eCommerce tips for you:

1. Post regular content, 3 images a day, daily stories, and weekly live content

2. Comment and like on competitors highly engaged followers

3. Follow and unfollow competitors highly engaged followers

4. Leverage influencer marketing to hack growth from other paid account promotions, shoutcart.com is a great tool for this!

There is even plenty of other methods to grow your Shopify business hijacking social media. You can check some cool creative ideas at Whole Design Studios.

Use more photos

According to research made by 3M, the corporation behind Post-it Notes, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.

Since 65% of people are visual learners according to the Social Science Research Network, one of the best ways to drive the message to your customers is through visual content. One way to do this is to use more pictures on your site.

It’s no surprise then that HubSpot’s social media scientist Dan Zarrella found tweets with images are 94% more likely to be retweeted than tweets without. In brief, provide users with photos that stick to their memory. “A picture is worth a thousand words” –Arthur Brisbane.

Stay on top of SEO

As the eCommerce economy experiences rapid growth, more and more businesses will be entering this increasingly crowded space. A list of 1,000 tips on SEO wouldn’t be enough to even focus on the things you should do to increase your position in search engines.

In 2013 there were 2.2 trillion Google searches, but 90% of the users clicked only the first 3 results, so if your product is ranked last on your page you rely only on the rest 10% to find your site.

You should think about optimizing your titles, URL, and descriptions, providing useful and fresh content, improving your website’s loading time, implementing Google authorship, and registering your website with Google and Bing webmaster tools.

Building a website without SEO is like building a road without direction.

Use Live Chat

Using live chat is a method that helps your potential customers make a decision faster. Nowadays eCommerce is strong and growing, but nothing beats the human interaction in an offline store. You need to make your users feel like they’re interacting with humans, not a machine, live chat humanizes your site.

The live chat strategy makes your user feel like he’s in a real store, having all his questions answered by a shop assistant. You should place your live chat button in the most visible spot. You want it to be easy to notice and visible at all times, whether the user is scrolling or reading a product review.

Here are some live chat statistics, this might be more convincing:

21% of online shoppers are tempted to buy from a site that offers live chat. 46% think this is the perfect communication medium, and 62% of buyers that have used live chat are more likely to buy again from the same website. In conclusion, talk to them, don’t let them feel like they’re interacting with a robot.

Create Call To Action & Sign-up Buttons

Avoid lengthy sign-up forms that can take a few pages or so before visitors can successfully register to your site. As an e-commerce site, you don’t need to know their address, phone number, and what kind of work they do.

A simple email address and a password are just all you need. You should never underestimate the power of call-to-action buttons as this helps in building higher conversion rates and improving site usability.

Make these call-to-action buttons stand out. Think about the button size, color, font, and positioning. It has to be very clear so it would stand out from your website background.

Use the right tools

Plugging the right tools into your online store is one of the critical tips that would boost your online efficiency. For you to get the best of your customers, have clear and positive data and numbers (Conversion, Analytics, Revenue, Retention, Retargeting, etc.)

For this, I advise you to check Shopify App Bundles: http://www.shopifyappbundle.com in which you will find the perfect tools for your online store. Once you use the right tools, making the best out of the market, it is in your palm.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

How e-commerce supports African business growth

Africa’s booming e-commerce sector can not only jump-start small businesses but also help large companies enter a market full of energized consumers.

Africa has one of the most digitally connected populations on the planet, with 400 million internet users. Sacha Poignonnec, cofounder and co-CEO of Jumia, Africa’s largest internet group, discusses why the e-commerce opportunity in Africa is so great for companies large and small in this interview with McKinsey’s Georges Desvaux. An edited transcript of his remarks follows.

Africa’s big appetite for e-commerce

From the outside, you look at Africa, you read the news, and you think it’s going to be very difficult—everything is going to be very difficult. We started the business in Lagos, and on the first day, we had consumers buying mobile phones. I was so surprised. On the very first day we opened the website, nobody knew us, and yet ten consumers bought mobile phones.

We were very surprised by the appetite of consumers for products that are sometimes expensive. We were very surprised that we could find a way to make the deliveries happen. A lot more positive than negative things were happening. I’m very bullish about e-commerce in Africa because what is unique in this continent is you have this very big population—over one billion people—and they are very connected.

There are more than 400 million internet users in Africa, which is the second-largest internet-user population on the planet, just after China. And yet distribution for goods and services is challenging. And it’s notorious that in Africa, for consumers, it’s more difficult to find goods and it’s more difficult to shop. Because of mobile and because of the internet, consumers now have a way to access goods and services in a more efficient way.

Understanding Africa’s consumers

Consumers in Africa want the same thing as consumers everywhere else: they want good products at a good price, good quality. It’s the same thing. I speak to a lot of business partners who are thinking about Africa and how different it is. There are some things which are the same everywhere. And for us, consumers want to save time and save money.

In terms of consumer segments, what is surprising is we have a lot of consumers who are not necessarily in the big urban areas. From an outsider, one could think, “OK, e-commerce is for the inhabitants of Lagos and Cairo, and Nairobi.” We have a lot of consumers who live in small villages and in small cities. Why? Because they see a lot of choice on Jumia, and they don’t really have that choice in the areas where they live. For them, it’s very difficult to have access to the goods.

Overcoming barriers to business

One of the barriers, obviously, of e-commerce is logistics because we have to move the products from the merchants who are selling the products to the consumer who is ordering the product. And logistics is obviously a big challenge for whoever knows Africa.

In Africa, there’s no address system in most of the cities. For someone to find a consumer, you need to have a local partner who knows where the consumer is, based on very subjective information. And, for example, if you say in a city in Africa, “I live in the third street by the church with the blue door,” that’s the address.

You and I, would not find this consumer. But if you partner with the right local player, who has the right local knowledge, then they can find those consumers because they understand that. Now the challenge, of course, is that to have a lot of fragmented logistics players is a risk, unless you have what we created, which is a very good set of standard technology tools and processes that we give to the local players so that they can operate their last-mile, cash-on-delivery, door-to-door-delivery businesses according to international standards.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Skills for selection of e-commerce products

If I ask you, what services will be involved in the whole trading chain of e-commerce? “Logistics”, “collection”, “advertising”, these basic services, you are sure to open your mouth. Even under the general trend of compliance and branding, “trademark registration” and “intellectual property” can also be mentioned. But if you mention “product quality inspection” and “product certification”, you may not know much about it.

In fact, to return to the essence of business, quality products are the prerequisite for everything. Cross-border e-commerce is no exception.

E-commerce platform: Products with certification are better sold

When Chinese goods are exported overseas through cross-border e-commerce, they must not only facilitate the operation of cross-border trading chains through logistics, payment and other services, but also follow the access rules and compliance requirements of target markets and ensure the safety of products to ensure that products will not be recalled or stranded at customs.

In fact, even for the same category of products, countries have different access rules and compliance requirements. For e-commerce sellers, the compliance requirements of the destination country are only the first pass into the target market.

Of course, in addition to the target market policies and the hard rules of the platform, consumers will also care about the product qualification certification and the test standard that the product meets when they buy products on the e-commerce platform, especially the products related to mother and baby products or related products that have direct contact with human body. Therefore, the more endorsements sellers have, the stronger the sense of trust consumers have when making purchase decisions.

Seller: Pre-sale quality control

The market, platform and even consumers have their own standards and requirements for product quality. For sellers, high-quality products are also the key to win in the fierce market competition.

Different channels: product testing demand

Due to different development stages, target markets, categories and scales, cross-border e-commerce sellers have different demands for product quality inspection, testing and certification services.

For e-commerce platforms with proprietary business:

Some e-commerce platforms not only provide sales channels for sellers, but also take goods from suppliers and sell them on the platform with labels, which is often referred to as “self-operation”. Conduct some inspection, test and audit for the suppliers of products on the e-commerce platform with its own business. Ensure the quality of the platform’s own products and brand credibility.

How to select good products for cross-border e-commerce platforms?

ShopShipShake said 7 out of 10 is selection and 3 out of 10 is operation. How to do a good job in product selection is the priority among priorities for many brand owners to take a good brand to the sea. The selection process should be supported by detailed market research and data analysis rather than individual subjective judgment. So, how to make a good selection?

1. Do in-depth research on market demands and trends around you

There are 233 countries and regions in the world, including 197 countries and 36 regions. Each country and region has different cultural customs, living habits, shopping requirements, aesthetics, language expression and so on. The first thing we should do is to do a detailed research and analysis of the target market. Through research and analysis, we can basically determine the direction and preferences of the market, understand the real needs of consumers, and achieve “stable” selection, in order to greatly reduce the risk of going to sea.

2. Relevant to product itself

The product itself quality is good, the quality is qualified has the guarantee, can obtain the consumer’s good opinion easily. Among similar products, the quality of various products is uneven. The key to how to stand out and avoid selective elimination is to improve product quality and “please” consumers.

3. Products should adapt to cross-border logistics and transportation

Different from domestic transportation, cross-border e-commerce logistics takes a long time and costs a lot. In the process of transportation, customs detention, product loss, product damage and so on are easy to occur. Due to different logistics transportation cycle is different, some 3.4 days, some may need a month or more before delivery. Therefore, the selection of products to consider the size of the product, shelf life, the degree of extrusion resistance, temperature changes around, packaging logistics costs and other factors.

Tips on e-commerce selection: Keywords search options; Different market selection; Data observation and selection; Customer reviews selections.

Covid-19 gave a strong shot to e-commerce

Online retail may account for less than 2% of total retail sales in South Africa, but the covid-19 pandemic has encouraged consumers to shift to digital shopping and payments, and it has encouraged businesses to adopt online sales channels to keep revenue streams flowing.

“This epidemic is a shot of adrenaline in e-commerce. Jonathan Smit, of PayFast, an online payment processing solution, said: “habits formed now will continue in the future.”

Smit spoke in an interview with Warrick Kernes, founder of Insaka eCommerce Academy, at the PayFast e-commerce virtual summit held online on May 25 solstice 28.

SA businesses embracing online

“Online shopping trends have been happening anyway, but we are now forced to do so.” “Smith said.

According to the latest Nielsen study, 37 percent of south africans say they shop more online, and Smit adds that older people are embracing e-commerce because it poses fewer health risks than grocery shopping outdoors.

While brick-and-mortar retail will remain relevant for the long term, including in developed markets, companies need to use e-commerce as a distribution channel because it is the basis for future growth, he said.

When the nationwide lockdown began in South Africa, Mr. Smit said, PayFast’s transactions declined, but then exploded as people moved their businesses online to continue trading in a certain way.

As a result, the total number of new business account registrations at the online payment gateway has increased by 83% year-on-year since the lockout began. A few days ago, Smit said, it surpassed 4,000 new accounts for the first time in 30 days.

PayFast reported a 226 per cent year-on-year increase in new business account registrations in the food industry since the restrictions were imposed in mid-march. In order to keep trading during the lockdown, many local businesses have shifted their supplies to necessities, leading to a surge in the food industry.

Companies with e-commerce capabilities, such as Granadilla Swim and NetFlorist, can quickly make the transition to the supply of basic goods because they already have distribution channels, delivery relationships and sales platforms.

According to PayFast, grocery stores, supermarkets and bakeries were the retailers that benefited the most in the first two weeks of the lockout, with sales up 357%, while more subdivided product categories emerged, such as pet care and baby necessities. Significant sales growth.

Accelerating digital commerce

‘The epidemic has not created new trends, but has accelerated and expanded the business innovations that have occurred,’ Mr. Smit said.

Looking ahead, he predicts grocery delivery will become more common locally, as it provides consumers with a better way to take their products home without having to wait in line or be crowded.

In addition, he wants physical and online retail to blend more seamlessly. “Whether it’s clicking and collecting, whether it’s going to the store, whether it’s shopping online and delivering to your door, I think it’s going to be ‘retail ‘- part of the same ecosystem and part of the same machine.”

Source: https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/394/204333.html

BY: LAUREN HARTZENBERG

The WTO report focuses on the role of e-commerce during the covid-19 outbreak

The world trade organization (WTO) secretariat recently released a report on the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on e-commerce, including cross-border trade. The report notes that the use of e-commerce is increasing as consumers adapt to measures of blockade and social alienation. The report also draws attention to challenges such as the need to bridge the digital divide within and between countries.

In addition to highlighting the growth of e-commerce during the covid-19 crisis, the report explores the measures governments are taking to promote e-commerce and some of the challenges they face. Governments have worked to increase network capacity, encourage the availability of expanded data services at low cost or for free, and reduce or eliminate transaction costs for digital payments and mobile remittances. The report also explores the ongoing wto discussions on e-commerce and how continued implementation of the wto trade facilitation agreement will address some of the challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic.

According to the report, lessons learned from the covid-19 crisis can further promote global cooperation in e-commerce, which will help facilitate cross-border flows of goods and services, narrow the digital divide and level the playing field for small businesses.

Key points of the report are as follows:

Social outreach, lockdowns and other measures in response to the covid-19 pandemic have led to an increase in consumer online shopping, social media use, voip and conference calls, video and movie streaming.

This has led to a surge in business-to-consumer sales and an increase in business-to-business e-commerce. The growth in B2C sales is particularly evident in online sales of medical supplies, necessities and food.

Demand for Internet and mobile data services has also increased. Both operators and governments urgently need to adjust network capacity and spectrum to accommodate the shift to online activity. However, demand for some services, such as travel services, which have a lot of online content, has fallen.

E-commerce for trade in goods and services has also been adversely affected by the same factors that have contributed to the overall disruption in supply and demand. This interference results in delivery delays or outright cancellations. Other challenges related to e-commerce have emerged during the pandemic, or have been exacerbated. These include price fixing (that is, raising prices to unreasonably high prices), product security issues, deceptive practices, cyber security issues, the need to increase bandwidth, and development-related issues.

The pandemic highlights the need to bridge the digital divide both within and between countries, given the central role played by the digital economy during the crisis. In developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, many traditional barriers have become more prominent and continue to hinder the greater participation of small producers, sellers and consumers in e-commerce activities. This highlights the need to provide effective and affordable information and communication technology services, such as telecommunications, computer and other information technology services, as well as emerging technologies.

Governments are taking new steps, and the private sector is taking action to address and ensure that e-commerce can help mitigate some of the challenges in the fight against the virus. These measures include increasing network capacity, expand the data provided in the form of little or no charge service, reduce or cancel the digital payment and mobile remittances of transaction costs, improve service delivery and other logistics, using digital tools implement measures and spread information, promote the remote medical care, and using mail tunnels technology monitoring.

The global nature of the covid-19 outbreak and its impact on e-commerce may encourage greater international cooperation to further develop online procurement and supply policies. The pandemic has shown that e-commerce can be an important tool/solution for consumers. E-commerce can also support small businesses and become an economic driver of domestic growth and international trade by increasing economic competitiveness.

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital technology, but it has also exposed weaknesses around the world. The resulting experience and lessons relate to various discussions within the wto, including those relating to e-commerce. These discussions could benefit from strengthening international cooperation to facilitate the cross-border movement of goods and services, to narrow the digital divide and to create a level playing field for micro – and small – and medium-sized enterprises.