50 Best Tips of 2013
41. Require a signature upon the delivery of goods. A signed delivery receipt is one of the most popular recommendations for online retailers. The signature, in addition to information gathered online, helps relieve merchants of any wrongdoing in the resolution of chargeback disputes. A signature can often take the place of a card swipe transaction receipt, making your sales much more secure. Every carrier today offers signed delivery receipts. If this cost is prohibitive to your business, opt for delivery confirmation instead. A delivery confirmation service adds a very small amount to the postage and still provides you with a record of evidence.
Monica Eaton-Cardone, Chargebacks911, "3 Tips to Reducing Chargebacks," May 15,ROI Report
42. To defend against sophisticated cyber attacks, implement a unified security system capable of managing both mobile and other online transactions. All mobile transactions should be funneled through the same back-end security system as desktop/laptop transactions, and mobile access points should be monitored just as thoroughly as every other connection channel.
Andreas Baumhof, ThreatMetrix, "5 Ways Retailers Can Protect Mobile Transactions From Fraud," March/April, Retail Online Integration
43. Consider adding deferred, residential ground alternatives to your website, including offerings from UPS SurePost, FedEx SmartPost, and Newgistics. While these services may add days in transit, they come with significantly lower pricing than FedEx and UPS air and ground services.
Rob Martinez, Shipware, "Retailing for Dummies," January/February, Retail Online Integration
44. Include the bad stuff. While most brands instinctively want to suppress negative mentions, consumers assign more credibility to brands that publish both positive and negative reviews and comments on their social media profiles. Rather than alienating consumers by filtering out the occasional negative comment, emphasize transparency and give consumers visibility to the full spectrum of customer-generated content.
Bruce Warren, Empathica, "How Retailers Can Benefit From Consumers' Reliance on Social Media," Jan. 9, ROI Report
45. Establish rules. Post community guidelines in the "About" section of your Facebook page. It may be Barnes & Noble's approach to let fans have their say on the brand's Timeline, but within what parameters? And how will the brand participate in the conversation, if at all? Lots of brands post rules for community behavior, and many help fans/followers know what to expect from the brand, including identifying which platforms are for customer service and indicating if/when the brand will delete fan posts.
Carolee Sherwood, Media Logic, "The Retail Social Juice Index Spotlight: Wayfair.com, King Arthur Flour, Barnes & Noble," March 21, ROI Report
46. It's possible to have too much of a good thing. Though you should experiment to find your brand's ideal pace, many (Edgerank Checker, Social Bakers and Social Media Today, for example) say the right frequency for brands to post on Facebook is about once a day, citing the principle of diminishing returns after that. Carefully monitor "how busy" your Timeline is in other ways as well. Post diversity can be a good thing, but without a unifying principle, it can cause confusion - as can promoting too many activities and contests simultaneously.
Carolee Sherwood, Media Logic, "The Monthly Retail Social Spotlight: Silpada Designs, Boot Barn, 1-800-PetMeds," April 18, ROI Report
47. Make YouTube work for you. Drive traffic from your YouTube-based videos to your website by using a "secret link." Think you can't link out of YouTube? Think again. Put a text link as the first element in the video description. A clickable link will appear just below the video as it plays.
Craig Wax, Invodo, "9 Tactics to Boost Your Video Merchandising Efforts," Feb. 28, ROI Report
48. Test your thumbnail for volume lift. A simple change of your video thumbnail - the still image that shows before visitors play your video - can lead to double-digit increases in your clickthrough rate. But how do you know which of your thumbnail options is going to work best? It's simple, run an A/B split test. If you're not A/B testing your video thumbnails, you're giving away views.
Michael Litt, Vidyard, "5 Tips to Optimize Your Video Marketing Efforts," May 1, ROI Report
49. In terms of making good use of your videos, the best place to start is with your search engine optimization efforts. Video can be a very effective tool for cutting through the clutter of search results and convincing a prospect that your link is worth clicking on. When you upload your video site map to search engines, you instantly boost the placement of your videos in searches.
Dr. Melody King, Treepodia, "Video Engages Consumers at Every Stage of the Shopping Process," Sept. 23, ROI Report
50. Find the characteristics of a product that are key to the customer's decision. For an apparel retailer, it may be a photo; for an electronics site, specs and ratings are important; for a home improvement brand, "how to" videos may make it stand out. It's critical to the success of the site to place those elements that are most important to the purchase decision up front on the homepage.
Kevin Simmons, MICROS, "8 Tips for Developing E-Commerce Sites With Consumers in Mind," Oct. 16, ROI Report