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Will Facebook be able to monetize their business model?

Ever since Facebook took the world by storm in 2003 I wondered how exactly they would monetize their business model. To my partner and I it seemed like just another dot com that folded during the original dot com bust that reached it's peak in 2000. It was no longer considered successful business planning to just to add a dot com to the end of your company name. Now that the Facebook IPO has come and gone, we have seen just how much faith the business community has in it's offerings.

Customers buy benefits, not features. Do you know the difference?

Are you still describing your products' features to your customers and overlooking the benefits? If so, you're most likely not realizing your full selling potential. Although customers are interested in the detailed features your products have to offer, they're more likely interested in how these features will benefit them. Benefits are what compel shoppers to buy.

Like many business owners, you may be a little confused about the difference between your product's features and their benefits. In a nutshell, a feature is an element that makes your product better. A benefit is what the customer receives from you adding that feature.

Did You Vote Today?

Did You Vote Today?My wife and I got up early today, taking a bit of time away from our web design business to make our way down to the polling place. We began talking about how much the next people that we vote into office will effect our business and our client's online stores, collection of sales taxes, etc.

If you haven't already, make sure to get out and vote so that you can help decide what our future online climate will be (to say the least). Do not let allow legislators to decide your financial and social future without making your voice heard. Remember, honor our veterans by exercising the right they have fought so hard to protect in this great country of ours.

How To Create Great Product Images That Sell

In the real world, customers are able to interact with a product they are thinking they might want to buy. They can go to a store, see the actual thing, touch it, play with it and ultimately decide whether or not they want to purchase that item. When shopping online, this is not the case but online retailers can help customers get comfortable with purchasing a product they can't physically experience by following some simple rules.

Does Pinterest actually help improve online sales?

Does Pinterest actually help improve online sales?We've all heard a lot recently about the power of Pinterest. Many are saying how they have seen increased sales by including a Pinterest "Pin It" button next to their product images and pinning their products on their Pinterest "wall". We recently chose to test how it could work for our own clients' ecommerce websites.

If you're not familiar with Pinterest, here's how it works (in a nutshell).
A prospective customer is online "window shopping". They see a product that they want or find interesting. They "Pin It" on their Pinterest wall via their browser for all their friends, family and social circles to see. Thereby offering free exposure for the product in the photo and a generous link back to the page that contains the image, usually the product detail page where you can share, buy, bookmark, etc. that specific product. Of course, this is an over-simplification of the process, but I think it gets the point across.

How to increase your online sales (Part 3 of 3)

Part 3: How to create a user-friendly checkout process.

In part 1 we covered barriers to increasing conversion rates, part 2 discussed how to create descriptive product pages. In this 3rd and final installment we will be discussing the elements of a user-friendly checkout.

With broadening acceptance of online shopping, more people are beginning to open their own online stores. They think all they need is a website, some product, a page to take credit cards and then they can sit back and rake in the profits. However, most online retailers quickly find out that this is not the case and begin to wonder what the "magic formula" is for selling online. Most people pay too much attention to the wrong things, like the way their site looks instead of how user-friendly their checkout process is. Here are just a few suggestions for guiding customers through the checkout process as quickly and easily as possible.

eMarinePX Makes The Jump To Mobile

eMarinePX Makes The Jump To MobileJust wanted to take the opportunity to toot our own horn and show off some of our latest work. Last month our long time client eMarinePX became our first ecommerce client to make the leap from desktop website to a mobile-friendly version of their online store. This was prompted by a significant number of users shopping their website using smartphones.

Think Tank Designs worked closely with Miva Merchant and PayPal to implement a streamlined and faster loading version of the main site designed specifically for smartphone users. The mobile version of the site took approximately 1 month to complete. Now all people visiting eMarinePX on a smartphone are automatically sent to the mobile site.

Think Tank Designs directed the design, layout, customization of modules and conducted usability testing to provide customers with the most streamlined shopping experience possible. Check out eMarinePX on your smartphone when you get the chance and let us know what you think.

How To Create Effective Catalog Spreads

How To Create Effective Catalog SpreadsPrinted and digital catalogs are an important extension of many ecommerce websites. Having created catalogs for clients for the past 15+ years, we have found some tried and true strategies to increase page views that can be used to hold your viewers' interest longer and increase catalog sales. Here are 4 suggestions.

Provide Descriptive Category Titles At The Top of Each Page
A large descriptive spread headline can add clarity and help consumers decide if the spread is worth their time to look at as they skim through your catalog (i.e. Green Household Cleaners). Smaller sub category titles can be beneficial to further direct the reader to the exact section of the category they're in (i.e.: Green Kitchen Cleaners, Green Bathroom Cleaners, etc.).

How to increase your online sales (Part 2 of 3)

Late last year, we began part 1 of a 3 part series on how to increase your online sales. In part 1 we covered barriers to increasing conversion rates which included 14 different reasons why customers may choose not to purchase a product online. This time, we'll focus specifically on creating descriptive product pages and the elements that have been proven to increase online sales.

How do most online retailers find problems with their shopping cart?

Usually one of two ways. 1) Checking/testing on a regular basis or 2) when customers start to complain. The latter is not the ideal time. By then, who knows how much money you've lost. Remember, most customers won't take the time to report the problems they have at your website. Usually they just leave and buy from your competition.

Below are a few things that you should do on a regular basis to keep your online store generating revenue.

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