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3 ways to stop having one night stands with your customers

Increasing repeat sales to one-time buyers dramatically increases your profits. For e-commerce sites, it’s often the simple fix of being intentional about your customer user experience before, during, and after the purchase.

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UX design

Simple UX tweaks to keep ’em coming back

We’ve all been there before. You launch a great product, build an online store, and get people to come to your site. Your sales start off great but start to tank…along with your traffic. No one’s coming back!

Why?! Most customers treat you like takeout from that seedy little Chinese place on Lamar. You are there to fulfill an immediate need, but they don’t want to “love you long time.” Brand loyalty does not exist yet so they will not return to your site unless they get another guilty hankering for orange chicken and egg rolls.

Increasing repeat sales to one-time buyers dramatically increases your profits (how does a 95 percent increase sound?). For e-commerce sites, it’s often the simple fix of being intentional about your customer user experience before, during, and after the purchase.

Use dynamic content to increase both average order value and customer frequency

I’ve got 3 words for you: Amazon. Related. Products.

It’s why they are so successful and it is why I’m so broke. Amazon has mastered the art of not only helping you find what you came for, but also finding everything under the sun related to that product.

There are great ways you can customize the UX around what your customer is looking for: Homepages, product pages, category pages, search results, and the shopping cart page. The awesome part is you don’t have to have the massive size of Amazon to take advantage of this.

  • Dyno lets you customize your copy to fit the traffic source.
  • Unbounce helps you customize personalized landing pages while running A/B variation tests to deliver a tailored experience.
  • Boomtrain powers your dynamic feeds and helps you harvest and apply machine learning data.

Even if your customer doesn’t buy the related product on their first visit, it lets them know that you have what they need. It implants a trigger that says, “Remember that place you got X? Those folks have this other product you need as well.”

Optimize your checkout process

How is this for a juicy tidbit? 66 percent of your hard-won shoppers…who have said “YES!” to your product… are going to abandon their cart. The average customer who comes to you is extremely impatient. They want an easy experience and if they do not get it from you, they will move on to someone else *cough*Amazon-one-click-checkout*cough*.

Check out how your traffic works its way down your conversion funnel. If you find where most customers bounce then you have found where your UX sucks.

Your conversion funnel

  • Do you have products that are easy to find and select?
  • Is it easy for your customers to find variations on a product?
  • How hard is it to add products to the shopping cart?
  • Does your customer receive a notification that their product has been added to the cart?
  • Are there unneeded barriers in your checkout process?
  • Do you require customers to create an account?
  • Do you cookie customers to auto-populate their information?
  • Do you have a one-click checkout option?
  • Is it easy for your customer to checkout?
  • Are there any steps you can remove?
  • Do any of the above answers change for your mobile traffic?

Making the checkout process streamlined and easy will pay off exponentially you will both increase your first-visit customer conversion rate as well as the likelihood that the customer will return.

Maximize your invoice/receipt/shipping confirmation e-mails.

Your customer’s inbox can be a powerful and personal tool that brings back a customer. Deliver a friendly, personalized, customer-centric personality to your customers.

  • Offer discount codes with an expiration date that brings them back to the site.
  • Start or promote your referral program.
  • Show them products related to the one they purchase.
  • Help them discover completely new products.
  • Make sure that they know that your company is here to take care of them.

Avoid being spammy at all cost. However, if you play your cards right, follow-up e-mails can be a powerful method of building your company personality and driving customers back to your site. STAND OUT! Everyone sends digital receipts. Make yours provide value and engage the customer.

Improve your customer UX

It costs far less to keep a customer than to go find a new one. Improving your Customer UX is a fantastic way to increase your retention and activation rates. Create a relationship with your customer and treat them right.

#UXForConversions

Dave Novotny loves writing about cutting edge technology and business innovation. A creative by nature and a number cruncher by blood, sweat, and tears, Dave loves telling the story that the numbers and analytics write in a way that connects to people. When he's not crafting copy, he's out hiking with his wife and two rescue dogs, Jackie and Loki.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sarah Ross

    March 30, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Unbounce is a great tool. and so worth the price.
    There are a million and 1 (a gross hyperbole, I know) recommendation engines out there masked as simple personalization attempts.

    Can’t say I have ever heard of Boomtown, however I have heard really good things about Blueshift and even Optimizely.

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Business Entrepreneur

Amy’s Ice Cream – a front for spawning entrepreneurs?

(ENTREPRENEUR NEWS) Why would an ice cream shop bother with “30 hours of non-ice cream training” in personal finance and give teens and young adults access to a 401k program?

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amy's ice cream

Scooping ice cream is a classic summer job for the cash-strapped teenager, but for employees of Austin-area favorite Amy’s Ice Cream, it could lead to a lifetime of financial literacy, or even eventual entrepreneurship.

Founder Amy Simmons half-jokingly describes her namesake dessert franchise as “a front for educating primarily young people in business, and finance, and decision making, and problem solving so they can go out in the world and be really successful themselves.” Amy’s employees receive “30 hours of non-ice cream training” in personal finance, and even have access to a remarkably popular 401k program.

Simmons credits her business philosophy to a book by one Jack Stack of Missouri, entitled The Great Game of Business. Its tagline reads, “Teaching employees to think and act like owners,” and the ice cream entrepreneur is now extending the practice of “open book management” to companies across the country through Amy’s EDU, a consulting company cofounded by Simmons, Aaron Clay, and Mark Banks.

Open book management “empowers all employees to know, understand, and ultimately run the business.”Click To Tweet

“It’s a path and it’s a way of looking at your company so that you really engage your customers as partners… your stake holders as partners,” says Simmons.

Amy’s EDU also offers courses and seminars in customer service, leadership, public speaking, and company culture, but the primary objective of each track is the same: get employees and customers involved in the business, excited about what they’re doing, and educated enough to contribute something new.

Take note, CEOs and leaders: Amy’s Ice Cream is a highly successful company with impressive longevity – it was founded in 1984, and now boasts 14 locations, including 12 in Austin.

What Amy’s advocates for, others should imitate.Click To Tweet

And imitation does not necessarily mean adopting every single tenet of the Amy’s EDU syllabus, imitation means embracing the ethos of educating your employees on the company they’re devoting time and energy to.

It means giving your employees knowledge, and then giving them some freedom to use that knowledge for the benefit of your company.

It means recognizing that employee success and company success go together like hot fudge and vanilla ice cream, and that the teenager serving your sundae could, and maybe should, one day be founding an enterprise of their own.

This story was first published in February 2017.

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Business Entrepreneur

Business advice from Babe Ruth that all leaders should mind

(OPINION) Leadership comes from years of refining your practice, and great leadership comes dedication and focus, but Babe Ruth would add more to that…

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All good leaders pull from a variety of inspirational sources to create their formula for success, even from unlikely sources like an overweight baseball legend. Babe Ruth was a winner in his day without steroids and without the paparazzi and while he wasn’t a business leader, he hustled every day to be the best.

Today, we share with you a quote from Babe Ruth that all leaders should mind when operating business because this simple concept is one of the hardest to remember. “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games,” Babe Ruth said. Let that settle in. Are you resting your laurels on yesterday’s home runs?

Are you puffing your chest because last year’s sales were high or because your net worth was higher in 2008 than anyone else’s in your circle or because you won a prestigious award in 2007?

It’s very common to consider past accomplishments as part of your identity, there’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes relying on yesterday’s home runs stunts a leader’s intellectual growth – once you think you’re at the top of your game, sure you keep working, but are you really focused on today’s game?

The cliche of keep your eye on the ball would also be relevant here, because if you’re in the outfield dreaming about last week’s home run, you’re not in the game today with everyone else.

What steps are you taking to focus on today’s game? Maybe the image below should be your desktop or smartphone wallpaper as a reminder to focus?

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Business Entrepreneur

Transitioning from corporate life to freelance life

(ENTREPRENEUR) A look at what it takes to pivot your career from corporate cubicles to your couch at home.

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legal help for startups

Freelancing is rad. I’ve gone into some depth on why I think that’s the case and even provided some thoughts and resources for my rush hour and necktie-averse kin.

Freelancing is also challenging, in many ways more so than office work. I’ve transitioned between the two, both ways, and while I’ve landed on the liberating, self-motivated (but insecure, complicated and confusing) freelance side rather than the dull, workaday cube farm side (with it benefits, job security and human interaction) I can obviously see arguments for both.

Here’s what I wish I’d known before I set out to navigate the minefield between corporate and freelance work. With any luck, it should help you do the same without hearing a click and having to offer a sad and final “oops.”

Have a plan.

This is where going corporate to freelance starts to differ from vice versa. Choosing a new corporate employer takes hard goals, but also flexibility: an ex-freelancer has to learn to accommodate other people’s plans, on account of, you know, working with other people now.

Entering the freelance world requires the opposite.

You don’t just need goals. You need a schedule.

You need deliverables, you need a budget, you need Plans B-Z inclusive for when you come in over or under, because you will.

In short, you need a boss in your head.

It is the best boss you’ll ever have: that cat (feel free to imagine it as an actual cat in a business suit; I certainly do) doesn’t care if you party til 2am on a Wednesday, or skive off for three hours in the middle of the day to catch “Fate of the Furious” at matinee prices. All your new boss cares about is hitting the numbers.

Have numbers. Hit them.

Go slowly.

This is the one that everyone screws up, by which I mean that I did. It is so tempting to stick your boss’ tie in the shredder, shot put your least favorite appliance out the window and burn a sweet donut in the parking lot before you drive off to your freelancer future. Every office drone’s dream, right?

Don’t do it. Do not.

On my last day before I went freelance, I wore a Metallica tee and sweats to my shirt-and-tie day job. Joked with my cube buddy, what were they gonna do, fire me?

Thing is? That was the first time I went freelance.

As you’ll recall from the intro, I’ve done that twice. Thankfully, when I did have to return to the realm of gridlock and beige, I was in a different time zone. But the whole reason I had to return to the corporate world in the first place was summed up in that I didn’t prepare. I did the dream, cut loose, and burned the bridges behind me. Unwise.

It’s standard wisdom that you should build up savings before starting a business. Real talk: for an awful lot of people, that’s fantasy. Even in my coziest corporate days, north of the 50th percentile, between rent and urban cost of living my only shot at meaningful savings was retailing organs.

Keep your kidneys. Instead, bank your time.

I’m a writer. You may have noticed. Most of my day jobs involved that skill. If you think every character I typed into Word in my cube days was corporate-approved, as opposed to projects or practice for my freelance adventures, there’s this great bridge I’d like to sell you.

So for the first few months, keep your day job and build your skills.

Take small projects on your own time, buoyed with that glorious cushion of salary.

Train your brains out. You may even be able to do that at work: plenty of employers, especially in fields like tech and medicine that a) value certification b) translate nicely to freelancing, will shell out to train you up. Wade into the shallow end while you’ve still got a roof and a health plan. It’s vital experience, but more importantly, it’s how you figure out freelance IT or consulting or Etsying artisanal dog sweaters is actually how you want to spend 80 hours a week.

Keep a schedule.

Wait. 80 hours? Fraid so, at least early on. It will take serious legwork to get those artisanal dog sweaters off the ground. No client list means permanent hustle. No infrastructure means weeks on end of pure trial and error, figuring out what works. No employees means every last bit of it is on you.

That’s not what I mean by scheduling. You have a job, and, being an American Genius reader, are by definition intelligent and insightful, not to mention good-looking and possessed of impeccable taste. We don’t let just anybody around here. You know you’ll need that stuff.

When you freelance, you need to schedule life.

That boss in your head? Still your boss, which is to say a sociopath who can and will take every minute you’re willing to offer. For better or worse, an office job does work-life balance for you: come in then, leave now, this is due whenever. The nastiest trap in entering freelance work, the last, biggest boom in the minefield, is that it can swallow you whole. If you let it, it will take over your life, and it’s better at that than the cube, because it’s something you want to do.

Integrate both ways.

So, not every day but now and again, put down your dog sweaters and catch Vin Diesel. See a concert on a weekday. Spend a whole evening playing with your kid.

Whatever you like, with a single rule: no work allowed.

Freelancing means your job is much more thoroughly integrated into your life.Click To Tweet

Make sure your life is integrated into your job.

And that, my friend, is how you transition from drone life to freelance life.

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