How to Increase Online Store Traffic with Facebook

No matter for small business or big corporates, various social media platforms have become so indispensable to generate more awareness, more leads and more sales. For most eCommerce brands, Facebook is still the first choice when it comes to driving traffic and building an audience of customers and fans.

Guess you have built up your Facebook page or even started managing it. However, do you always have a question in mind – “Why I do not have any order after I set up a Facebook friend page for my store?” Apart from spending some time to manage the page, you also need some tactics.

How do you actually increase the sales with Facebook and not come across as too self-promotional? In this blog post, we are going to share you some tips. Pick the ones you find most interesting and suitable for your business and start seeing your business grow!

Link Your Facebook Page to Your Online Store

Don’t forget to add your shop onto your Facebook page to makes it easy for your customer to see and order your products. Consider an F-Commerce function – convert and sell within the Facebook Page without the customer ever having to leave Facebook. This will increase conversions.

To link your Facebook page to your online store, you should add the “Shop Button” and also the “online store” tab onto your Facebook Page so that customers can shop immediately.

Be Responsive

Make it a habit to respond to message and comments quickly. When you do that regularly, you’ll get more engagement with your posts.Respond time is considered as an important indicator of your customer service and Facebook has put it into your business home page as well. Therefore, make sure you respond all inquiries and questions as soon as possible.

Attach an Image

Post with compelling image can increase click-through rate significantly and performs much better than other types on Facebook. According to scientific research, Facebook photos generate higher engagement than average post – with over 50% for “Likes” and over 100% for “Comments”.

Do not worry if you are not a professional photograph. There are a lot of free mobile apps and online software can help you create nice photos easily, for example, Pablo and Befunky. If you want to make you product photos more informative and helpful, consider overlaying some text on your image that gives more context such as “New Arrival”, “On Sale” or “2016 Winter Collection”.

Invest in Videos

Invest in video production if your budget and resource allow. Since we are all suffering from information overload, there is a growing trend that we should be seriously considered the creation of bite-sized chunks of content for quick and easy consumption.

Video can get more engagement on Facebook. The video can be an introduction of new products, the manufacturing process and sharing brand stories, etc. Keep your video short and make it less than one and a half minute. You can make good use of some mobile apps, such as Vine and Viddy, to create video clips and share more easily.

Offer Deal and Run Giveaway

Offering time-based discounts on Facebook can be an extremely effective way to get people to take action and increase sales. Or you can reward your Facebook fans by giving them a limited-time special offer. ( You can do it by using the Coupon Code feature in your online store). In the examples below, a Boutir seller offers a discount for a particular item and the other one gives 10% off for all products during the opening to generate more sales.

Be More Personal

Showing personality on your business Facebook Page is one of the best tactics to make your page alive and interactive. You may see some Facebook pages are filled with personal photos of the founder and friends. Some customers may fall in love with your story before they fall in love with your products. Thus do not afraid to go behind the scene and share your personal life and stories in your business page. You can also use tagging and hashtags to get your posts more visibility.

5 Strategic Ways to Use Online Coupon Code

Coupons codes is a core marketing tool that enable you to attract new and repeat customers by offering them discounts. Different from the paper coupon, online coupon code is more widely-used and functional than you can think of. The benefit of using coupon code is not only driving traffic for your online shop. In fact, it also helps build loyal customers, track revenue sources and retarget Facebook fans? Let’s go over the following 5 strategic ways now to get some great ideas of how to implement online coupon code!

1. Provide Prelaunch and Holiday offers

If you’re still in the prelaunch stage of your business or maybe even launching a new product, you can use prelaunch offers to increse store traffic and attract customer’s attention. Special offers can also collect valuable feedbacks from customer and find out the right target groups. By giving out a disscount with coupon code, you can invite your customers to finish a survey or leave a review or comment. In an addition, big holidays and your store anniversary are also great opportunities to stretch revenues with offers.

2. Reward Loyal Customer and Show Gratitude

Instead of just offering discount to everyone, it is neat to reward your most loyal fans. Rewarding customers with coupon can help build up a stronger relationship and encourage repurchase behavior. It can be as simple as sending your best customers a personal email with the coupon code and include warn greetings. It is also a good idea to add a thank you card with a coupon code when you wrap up the item. For example, you can say “I’d like to give you $50 off your next order. Thanks for being such a great customer!“ Showing gratitude to your customers like this go a long way toward building brand loyalty.

3. Track Revenue Sources

Discount codes are great for tracking which sales channels are performing the best for you. Store owners can distribute different coupon codes to different channels so that you can see which channels refer the most sales and concentrate on optimizing those channels. By upgrading to Shop Plan in Boutir, you can create unlimited coupon codes to track your revenue sources.

4. Retargeting and Cart Abandonment Strategies

Statics shows that online sellers are losing close to 70% of all customers everyday because many people abandon their carts or leave your page due to different reasons. However, people who have been to your sites generally shows interests to your products and it is necessary to bring them back by using coupon code. One of the powerful tactics is: put your coupon code into your Facebook ad, and don’t forget to include an eye-catching image.

5. Distribute Through Different Channels

Apart from disturbing your coupon code through various online channels, such as Facebook, email and message, business owners should not miss any offline channels. For example, for some Boutir sellers are running their physical stores  or joining weekend market from time to time. They can give out their online coupon code to customers when they check out and invite them to shop in your online store. Don’t forget to set a time-based deadline or quantity-based limit, otherwise there will be no urgency for customers to use the coupon code.

How shipping costs affect online sales?

Ecommerce continues to grow at a rapid pace domestically in Hong Kong. Customers have expectations for the cost, timeliness, and options of shipping, and those expectations keep growing.

The delivery fee in Hong Kong is comparatively high and sometimes takes up 20% to 50% of the total product price. But how shipping cost actually affect online sales? And how sellers can encourage sales with free shipping fee? To figure this out, I decided to do some research.

Free shipping increases order value

According to a recent Econsultancy survey, 93% of shoppers say free shipping is the biggest source of encouragement to buy more online. More importantly, shoppers spend 30% more when free shipping is available. It follows that if shoppers feel a store treats them well by offering a free promotion they are going to reward that store with more of their business.

Shipping costs cause abandoned carts

According to a study conducted by Usability Sciences, 56% of all shoppers browsed for products, but only 19% placed an item in their cart. The most cited reason for this first level of abandonment was, “I can’t find what I’m looking for.” Of this 19% only 7% of shoppers completed their transaction. The most cited reason for this second level of abandonment was, “the shipping costs and options were unacceptable.”

Clearly, not only do shipping options influence conversion rates, but free shipping also influences the number of items customers put into their carts and the frequency of shopping.

How Long will customers wait for free shipping

Not only will customers abandon a cart if the shipping costs are too high, they’ll also abandon a cart of the shipping takes too long. Even if the cost is free, shipping that takes longer than customers are willing to wait can be a deal breaker.

In a AlexisPartners survey, shoppers were asked the following question: “When buying from an online store, catalog, or television program or commercial, what is the maximum delivery time you are willing to accept in order to receive free shipping?” The results are as follows:

  • One week – 50%
  • 5 days – 24%
  • 4 days – 12%
  • 3 days – 9%
  • 2 days – 4%

The above information indicate that, high shipping cost can stop online purchase. Even though shoppers has put their items into the cart, they will give up the payment at the end, which may cause the decrease of online sales. And most customers are not willing to wait for more than 5 days to get the products.

You may say only the large-scale shopping platform can offer free shipping. However, all Boutir sellers can enjoy free delivery service provided by S.F. Car and E.F Locker with only HK50 per month.

Four Tips for Packaging Your Products

Your packaging says something about your brand and please make sure it is not saying, “I am lazy and careless!”. Superior packaging and design help consumers to recognise your brand, build consumer trust, and encourage repurchase. If you haven’t invested time and resources into the packaging of your products, check out the following 4 simple tips and start to do it for your online store today!

1. Know Your Customers & Competitors

Who are your target customers? What are the things that attract or interest them? These are the questions you should be asking yourself before designing your packaging. If you’re selling cosmetics, for instance, you know that soft, feminine colors will work to your advantage. However, if you’re selling something for children, vibrant bold colors, fonts, and images will be your best bet.

Take a minute to study the most successful competitors you will face. Figure out what their designs have in common and how they are different. As you are comparing your packaging to your competitors, also focus on how you can improve their designs to make yours stand out.

2. Keep It Simple & Reflect Your Brand 

Your packaging is part of your branding, so let it reflect your style. What colors, materials, and patterns will help you create a consistent brand image and deliver your brand message effectively? You don’t have to wrap your products in expensive gift paper with hand-curled ribbons; most buyers are perfectly satisfied with a package that has been carefully and securely wrapped with clean, plain, recycled environmentally friendly paper.

As you may never meet your customers, use the package to communicate with and encourage them to come back. Putting your brand name, logo and oline store link on the outside of the packaging can be effective. You can do a little bit more to make your customers’ unwrapping experience more pleasant – write a small “Thank you” card and a personal note, or use some nice ribbon to make your customers feel like they’re opening a gift.

3. Test Multiple Designs & Ask for feedback 

No matter how well designed and thoughtful a package is, it is critical to make sure customers react in the way you expected. Take several designs and test them with a focus group, even if it’s just friends and family. Take note of what each person says, and where their opinions overlap.

Find out what message the product is sending them and make sure it is is line with what you are trying to convey. You love your product already so the fact that the design appeals to you does not necessarily mean that it will grasp a customer the same way. Test as much as possible!

4. Include Promotion Elements 

Being a smart seller, you can make used of your packaging to increase customer loyalty and revenue. Consider the following 5 types of packaging inserts:

  • Business Card – to make sure that your buyer remembers you and your store, slip two business cards into your package.
  • Discount Offers – including discounts or credits for future purchases right in the box ensures your customers will receive the offer and leaves them with a tangible reminder.  eg. “Free Shipping On Your Next Order”
  • Product Samples – product samples provide a great way to cross-sell customers and introduce them to other products and product lines that they may not know about
  • Small Gifts – small gifts can be a great way to surprise and delight customers, so as to build up better relationship with them

With all these tips, I hope your packaging can help you enchant your customers!

4 Essential Ways to Attract Customers to Your Online Store

One question has always dogged many Boutir sellers: why do I not have any orders after I have set up my store? No matter you are a beginner with ecommerce or you have run your e-business for some time – you won’t succeed unless you can attract customers to your online store. Of course, that sounds like it is easier said than done. Why not check out the following 5 tips that will help you get lots of traffic without spending a huge budget!

1 . Social media activity 

Social media is one of the channels that gives you free promotion. Your content has to be interesting and outstanding, so that people will want to follow you. So what actually should you do to attract customers using social media?

  • Post regularly – at least on a daily basis, so customers cannot forget about you
  • Engage your users – ask them questions, reply to their comments, try to catch their attention
  • Use graphics – posts with images usually get 50% more engagement that others

2. Customer care 

Another thing that will help you attract many customers is an outstanding customer care. A Forrester research stated that 45% of US consumers would abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns were not addressed quickly. This means that if you want to attract clients, you need to reply to all their comments and inquiries. And it has to be done as soon as possible because timely responses are the key to success in this matter.

A research conducted by McKinsey revealed that 70% of buying experiences are based on customers’ feelings on how they are being treated. As it turns out, it is not the product itself or the ads that are the key – it is customer service. Be nice, helpful and competent and you will see that the customers will come.

3. Promotions 

We all love promos and discounts. But usually it is not the $5 that we save makes us happy. It is rather a psychological mechanism that is responsible for these feelings. It has been confirmed that the word “free” makes us feel irrationally excited, which stimulates positive emotion.

How can you use it in your online store to attract clients? One idea is to offer clients a free shipping. As Patryk Pawlikowski from Shoplo.com said: “Many of our stores propose their clients free shipping and it turns out to be a success. The number of purchases in their stores grows significantly, as a shipping fee is one of the reasons why customers resign from purchase” .

Another way is to distribute discount coupons. You can give them to new clients, so they have a stimulus to make their first purchase. It is also recommended to maintain loyal customers by giving them a special offer, such as “second item 30% off”. All of these can make your clients feel special and encourage them to shop in your store.

4. Email marketing 

Make sure that you encourage all existing customers to return by making special offers and letting them know what you are doing at your store. You can maintain good relationship with them through sending regular emails! An Epsilon ”Branding Survey” has demonstrated that 54% people have more positive attitude towards companies that send them emails. Here are some of the most common ideas:

  • send emails about new products
  • send emails about sales and promos
  • send emails after purchase with similar or recommended products, so that people are eager to make another purchase
  • send emails to clients who have not been active in your store for a while with discount coupons to make them revisit your website
  • send some tips or stylizations related to your products – this way you will inspire people and make them visit your store

You do not need millions to attract customers to your online store. The most important thing is to be creative and know which channels are the most suitable ones for your own. Now let’s go ahead and start promoting your store!

How to Create Successful Facebook Ads

A number of successful Boutir sellers agreed that placing advertisements on Facebook can greatly increase sales and help them gain sustaining profits. Adobe’s Social Media Intelligence Report pointed out that Facebook has achieved a double-digit increase in both click through rate (20%) and ad impressions (41%), quarter over quarter.

Sadly, out of the 25 million small businesses active on Facebook, only 4% are running Facebook Ads. How to make attractive Facebook Ads? There are four salient elements that you need to include in your Facebook ads.

1. It’s visual.

Visual content is treated more favorable in the Facebook algorithm. What’s more, visual content attracts more “Likes” and is more engaging in the ever-changing News Feed, and therefore is more likely to catch your customers’ eye. No matter what type of ad you create, your image needs to be visually appealing and attention grabbing.

Every time you are creating a new campaign, take time to test the ads in different designs and find out the most suitable type for your target customers.

2. It’s relevant.

Relevance is critical for success when using Facebook advertising. Remember, you are spending money when someone views or clicks on your ad. You can adjust the settings, such as age groups, genders, geographic locations, interests and so on, to reach your target customers.

Facebook recently launched a new feature on the Facebook advertising platform that rates your ads and gives you a relevance score, similar to Ad Rank in Google AdWords. The more relevant your ad image, ad copy, and destination page is to your audience, the higher your score is, and the more favorably Facebook will treat your ads.

3. It includes an enticing value proposition.

A value proposition tells the readers why they should click on your ad to learn more about your product. How is your product or service different from any others? Why should the viewers click on your ad to see your website?

Your value proposition should be believable. Saying you have the greatest coffee in the world will not make people come to your business’s page, but maybe offering 20% off will.

4. It has a clear call-to-action.

A beautiful and relevant ad is great, but without a call-to-action (CTA), your viewers might not know what to do next. Your CTA should encourage people to click on your ad now. Include “Click here”, “Book Now” or “Buy now and save X%,”, “Offer ends soon” to add a sense of urgency to your viewers.

Four Tips for Beautiful Product Photo

If you are selling online, you may want to take attractive product photos to enhance online sales and the value of your business. With the following tips, you are able to take high-quality and beautiful images with affordable gears and simple settings. Trust me, you can do it!

1. Camera

Although having a DSLR was necessary for taking quality product photographs, smartphones have dramatically changed the game. iPhone can also produce professional shots. I strongly encourage sellers to explore using your smartphone after you have the proper setup. That should be the step

before committing to the purchase of a high-end camera. You may be surprised.

2. Lighting

If you can find a way to use natural light, do it. Set up your shot near a window (or near a white wall if it reflects enough window light). After taking product photographs, you can also use free mobile apps, such as “Adobe Photoshop Express” and “Photo Editor”, to edit your images.

3. Background

Set your background as simple as possible. Normally, a white background tends to work the best. Other colors can work if they are not too distracting and do not clash with what you are photographing. For small items such as jewelry, you may use more interesting backgrounds. Some sellers use vintage books, wood, paper and cloth to help with showcasing their goods.

4. What to Shoot

Take pictures from every angle you can think of, and shoot way more than you think you need to. If you are trying to sell something, include a variety of pictures. A close-up detail, a shot of the whole thing, and a couple of different angles will help people see what they’re getting.

The Hidden Side of organic Farming in Hong Kong

It is sometimes a bit stressful to write an investigative story, but it always excites me. On this occasion, I was really lucky to meet some farmers who were willing to talk about the hidden side of the organic market, but it was not easy to build up trust with them and persuade them to talk about some of the more sensitive issues.

I tried to visit as many organic farms and organic markets as possible in the New Territories and carry out a little research before I started to do interviews. Gathering background information paid off during interviews as
my contributors seemed to respect the fact that I knew something about the industry and opened up a little more.

I also visited some self- proclaimed organic strawberry farms on the mainland and found that most of them did not have any certi cation. There are a lot more certi cation centers on the mainland and the situation is more complicated. But not having unlimited time I decided to focus on the organic market in Hong Kong.

The main story reveals certain “secrets” of organic farmers and also highlights frequent infringement of the regulations. I have also tried to explain the reasons behind some of the malpractices which have been the subject of reports by agricultural experts. The second story covers some of the public misconceptions about organic food. Finally I have presented an opinionatives ummary where I share some important facts and figures with you.


Facing the onslaught of a growing number of cheaper agricultural products imported from the mainland, Mr Yu Soeng-Kwong has been

suffering greater and greater losses. He learned from his peers that selling organic vegetables was much more profitable, so he finally decided to start practicing organic farming.

However, making the change did not make Mr Yu’s life easier. Having undergone a radical change in his farming methods he also went through the rigorous procedure to obtain organic certification. Since establishing himself as an organic farmer his biggest headache has been trying to compete with a number of farmers who sell their self-proclaimed organic vegetables at a much lower price.

In research conducted by the Hong Kong Organic Resource Center (HKORC) in March 2014 it was said that nearly 80 percent of stalls in
90 street markets were selling self-proclaimed organic vegetables without any official organic certifications.

Higher profits have lured farmers into taking the risk of selling fake organic vegetables which have been palmed off on a lot of unsuspecting customers. The lack of regulation and control of organic produce and surging prices are two major causes of the chaos in the organic market.

In Hong Kong there are two main organizations which provide organic certification and have the right to issue green labels – the Hong Kong Organic Resource Center (HKORC) and the Hong Kong Organic Certification Center

(HKOCC). Certificates issued by these two centers have to be renewed annually with a payment of HK$ 3000 and HK$ 10,000 respectively.

Farmers who successfully achieve certification agree to adopt the organic standard, growing produce without using chemical fertilizers
and pesticide, genetically modified organisms, preservatives, additives and irradiation, according to the Food and Health Bureau.

However, the reality can be very different
and complex as the organic verification system
is fraught with loopholes and grey zones. Can customers have any confidence in the organic certification system and those green labels? To what extent are organic farmers complying with guidelines or is it all just about fake products and high prices.

 

A Fishman in Lamma Island- Uncle Ming

Because of the increasing fuel price, implement of environmental policy as well as variable weather in recent years, Fishing is suffering a tough time. Most traditional fishermen decide to divert to other fields. Uncle Ming, being as one of the local traditional fishermen, with great luck, found his new job eight years ago and now works as a fisherfolk docent in Lamma fisherfolk’s village.

“As the leaving and retiring of older generation fishermen, some valuable “fisherfolk” culture like fishfolk wedding, traditional way of making dragon boat, weaving the fishing net and frizzling up salty fish pass into silence gradually,” said Cheng Wah Ming with a sense of pity.

Uncle Ming has contributed his own fishing boat which he used to live in with his ten sisters and brothers, as well as all his personal stuff to set up a small fisherfolk’s museum, hoping that all visitors could have a first – hand experience of fishmen’s life and better understand their culture.

“I know even thought it won’t make a big change under my own steam, I am trying my best to remain our traditional fisherfolk culture by working as a docent here. I love my job and it seems a responsibility for me, it is really meaningful.” said Uncle Ming.

“I did the decoration and wrote every piece of spring couplets here by myself.” He said with a bit of pride. And he is in this way, using each tiny action, carry out his promise to preserve fishfolk culture.

Uncle Ming is glad to share his own way of making fish nets and drying salted fish with visitors. But he looks more attractive when he performs magic! “I already have a lot of fans!” he joked. “I learned by reading books and simple wish to bring greater happiness to my visitors.”

Like most fishermen, Uncle Ming believes fishing will be his first and also the last job. However, not everyone get that piece of good luck. “For most of traditional fishermen, with inadequate education and poor stamina in their age, they have to work as sanitation workers or stevedores in urban city when they no longer work as fishermen.”

The <Fisheries Protection Ordinance> will be put into practice in the coming December. Legislative Council has passed the legislative amendments to ban trawling (including pair, stern, shrimp and hang trawling) in Hong Kong waters. By conservative estimates, around 400 trawl boats owners will be affected.

Even though the government is going to buyout those affected inshore trawlers from trawler owners who voluntarily surrender their vessels, it occasioned Uncle Ming much anxiety. “What those fishermen lose will not be simply a fishing boat, but the spiritual patron for their living.” Said Uncle Ming with a sense of sadness.