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Store Express
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An ecommerce solution from Store Express will bring you online success......
An ecommerce solution from Store Express will bring you online success......

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Does the word "innovative" launch you into an eyeroll? Do you heave a sigh at the sight of the word "great"?
Maybe you've just read too many press releases.
Those words, and 48 more, made Shift Communications's infographic of the 50 most overused PR words of 2013.
The company sampled 62,768 press releases published on MarketWired.com in 2013 to glean the most overused words in press releases last year.
The top 5 most overused words were...
New (110,059 times)
First (56,724 times)
Mobile (28,534 times)
Professional (27,859 times)
Most (25,774 times)
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Repost if you mentally say WED-NES-DAY when you write WEDNESDAY !
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RETURNS

It's holiday returns season, a critical time that tests an ecommerce retailer's organizational skills and customer service savvy. A lack of preparation for this season can leave you overwhelmed, costing you time, money and customer satisfaction. To help, our retail experts list the five return mistakes to avoid. 
1. Having an unclear or hard-to-find return policy. Customers who are confused by a return policy are less likely to become repeat customers. Have a very clear return policy that states which items are not returnable, the time limit for returns and any restrictions about the condition of the item. Put the return policy on your website in an easily accessible place as well as on the checkout page. Be sure to also include the return policy on the packing slip.
2. Not allowing enough time for returns. Limited return windows don't work well for gifting, especially during the holiday season. Many people buy gifts in early December, but the recipient does not get the gift until the 25th, allowing very few days to ship a return back to an ecommerce store with a 30-day return window. "If the return policy is too short, then people get nervous that their loved one won't have enough time to return the item and are less likely to make the purchase," says Niraj Shah, chief executive offier and co-founder of Wayfair.com. He recommends accepting returns until a set date such as January 15th or preferably Jan 30.
#insert related here#
3. Not having a system to process returns. Paula Rosenblum, co-founder and managing partner at RSR Research, a research and advisory firm, recommends ecommerce companies sort returns into four piles: items that can be resold as is, goods that are not salvageable, merchandise that needs minor repairs that can be done on site and products that need to be sent to a vendor for repairs or cleaning. By having a process and developing partnerships with vendors, she says, ecommerce companies can reduce the time required for processing returns and increase the amount of merchandise that can be resold.
4. Not staffing for returns. The longer a return sits in your back room, the less likely that item will be saleable. Consider hiring extra staff or extending the employment of pre-holiday workers during the weeks after Christmas to quickly process the returns. "Since the person handling incoming returns will also need to make judgment calls about what to do with each item, you want an employee with enough experience in retail and in your policies to make the correct business decision," says Rosenblum.
5. Offering free shipping and free returns based on total purchase amount. To compete with Amazon Prime and other large retailers, many smaller ecommerce stores are now offering free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount along with free returns. However, Bob Phibbs, chief executive office of the Retail Doctor, a retail sales consulting firm, says many shoppers will purchase a cartful of items to meet the minimum and then use free shipping to return the other items, which increases expenses and excess merchandise for the retailer. "Instead of offering free shipping and returns based on the total purchase, go through your inventory and offer free shipping/returns only for mid to upper prices items or do not offer free returns," says Phibbs
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If your business website needs a good makeover, you may want to consider incorporating A/B testing into your plan before making any major changes.
A/B testing, or split testing, allows website owners to create two different versions of a single web page. They then see which of their visitors continue on through the website to reach an end goal, such as purchasing a product.
Website owners load the two page versions into a tracking software, like Google Analytics, that splits your current traffic between the two pages and tracks the results. Learning to use this technique effectively can dramatically improve the amount of time potential customers spend on your website, ultimately resulting in additional sales.
What Is an A/B Test?
One of the biggest mistakes many business owners make is designing their website around what they find appealing, not what appeals to their customers. After a few months, the website isn’t fulfilling its intended purpose and they aren’t sure why.
Related: 3 SERP Tools to Help You Make Better SEO Decisions
The key to A/B testing is to make minimal changes at any one time so you are confident about the results. For example, if you have one page with a blue background and one page with an orange background, with everything else the same, a split test with a clear winner could only be due to the background change. Conversely, if one web page has a different background, different layout, different font, and different images on the page, it would be difficult to know what effect, if any, was due to individual page elements.
In order to determine whether your audience is more likely to purchase a product with blue order buttons or red order buttons, you can create two copies of the same web page, making only the order buttons different. Load both of these pages in a program designed for split testing, and begin the test.
The software will then “split” any visitors to your page, sending half to page A and half to page B. It will continue to track the visitors all through your website, including whether they decide to make a purchase. In web-speak, you may hear designers refer to this as a conversion rate. Wait patiently for a few days, and you will get to see whether your visitors have a preference for button color.
Make Sure the Results Are Significant
Another important thing to remember about testing pages is it’s all based around statistics. Fortunately, you don’t need to dust off your old college textbooks in order to use this strategy. There are tons of software programs out there to do all the calculations for you. But you do want to understand the concept of significance.
Let’s pretend a test shows that people went to page A, and 40 of those went on to buy something. It also shows 581 people went to page B, and only 38 went on to buy something. You might be inclined to think that page A was the winner, but you’d be wrong.
Significance in statistics needs a little wiggle room. If the results are that close, it could be due to random chance. The next 1,000 people or so could prefer page B. So before you declare a clear winner, make sure you have plenty of visitors and that the results clearly show a preference.
How to Incorporate a Test
Once you have two different versions of your web page created, there are several programs that can help incorporate the test into your existing website. One of the most popular methods involves using Google’s Analytics tool. Google Analytics does a lot more than test web pages. One of the features, Content Experiments, allows you to send visitors to different versions of a page and track the results. Google even allows users to have up to five different versions of the page, instead of the traditional two. They’ve put together a concise YouTube video to explain all the finer details.
However, Google Analytics can be a little difficult to navigate for people who are new to web page testing, so some website owners may prefer a more user-friendly software like ZenTester. This software has a free version available and easily incorporates into WordPress websites. It has everything to help you get started in the field of split testing.
Examining the Results
Once your test is set up, you may be unsure as to how long to let your experiment continue. This will be different for everyone, as it is all based on the amount of traffic coming to your site, the number of pages you are testing, and how confident you would like to be in the results. Visual Website Optimizer has a tool to help you know exactly how long to run your experiment. You can find their duration calculation tool here.
While split testing can be a little daunting at first, most users can pick it up quickly, and the results are well worth it. By incorporating a few small tests now, you can finally unlock your website’s true potential.
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It's been quite a year for SEO folk everywhere.
As 2013 shutters its doors and 2014 beckons, it's an opportune time to reevaluate, reassess, and revisit SEO tactics.
In the spirit of a New Year's Eve edition, I'm presenting some of the most popular New Years Resolutions through an SEO... There all hidden on our social media pages... have fun finding them and happy new year !
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Brands could increase engagement and revenue by sending more emails to customers

After analysing their own client data of more than 2.2bn emails sent to 40.6m recipients, Alchemy Worx has found that brands can generate four times the number of opens, clicks, and revenue by doubling the number of emails they send to consumers.
The research found that, if a brand were to send just one more email to its customers per month than it normally did they could, for a list of 5m subscribers, achieve an additional 1.9m opens (38% of the list) and an extra 175,000 email clicks (3.5% of the list). 
Ultimately, by sending one more email brands could deliver an additional £1.8m in revenue from email and deliver tangible return on investment to the brand.
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Shopping strategies that consumers plan to use to crack Christmas:

    25% will shop for everything online
    20% of all online purchases will be made using Mobile
    57% prefer to shop online to avoid crowds
    37% expect to use Click and Collect to beat the high st battle
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UK set to spend £518m more on Christmas 2013
Britons are expected to spend £518m more on Christmas this year, up 2.9% from 2012, according to a report from global business analytics firm SAS and retail analysts Conlumino.
Seasonal food and drink is set to be a winner over the festive period with sales expected to rise by 4.2% to £5.3bn.
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Payment services provider PayPal has overseen a rapid acceleration of its location-based services in the UK after launching a trial of its ‘check-in’ technology in the summer. The feature enables users of the PayPal app to identify shops in their vicinity that accept PayPal payment, click on them to check in and pay using their PayPal profile.

It was trialled at a few retailers in Richmond, London in August and has since been rolled out to more than 1,000 merchants nationwide including restaurant chains Prezzo and Gourmet Burger Kitchen. For merchants the potential benefits of the service include the opportunity to gather more data about consumers and expand their businesses across different channels. PayPal expects to add more locations to the app in 2014.

PayPal UK marketing director Alison Sagar says: “The data and insight that you can get about a customer when they pay on a mobile device is much greater than when a person walks into a store and you don’t know anything about them.”

In September, PayPal unveiled Beacon: an automated mobile payment system that allows people to make payments hands-free. Running on the same Bluetooth Low Energy technology used by Apple’s iBeacons system, Beacon allows PayPal to automatically check people in when they walk into a store.
PayPal is working with developers ahead of rolling out the technology next year. Since the system involves the automated transfer of financial data, its adoption is likely to be on a limited trial basis at first.
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Online Shopping Trends 2013: Most Popular Categories, Top Purchase Drivers

More than half (62%) of US consumers with Internet access now shop online at least once a month, and just 1% say they never shop online, according to a recent report by Walker Sands.
The most common types of products bought online in the last year include electronics (69% percent of consumers surveyed purchased online in 2013), books (67%), clothing (63%), household goods (38%), and office supplies (30%).

Top Purchase Drivers
80% of consumers surveyed are more likely to purchase a product online when offered free shipping, and 66% when offered one-day shipping.
64% of consumers are more likely to purchase when offered free returns and exchanges.
30% would spend more than $1,000 on a product online with free shipping and returns, compared with 10% who would do so without free shipping and returns.

Amazon.com
95% of consumers surveyed purchased something from Amazon.com in the past year.
40% of shoppers are willing to purchase any type of product from Amazon.
Consumers are somewhat hesitant to purchase groceries and luxury goods from Amazon, though the majority would still do so.
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