25 search results for “Guest Contributor”

How to Get Started with Google Places for Business

How to Get Started with Google Places for Business

Did you know that according to Google 97% of consumers search for local businesses online?

And that every month in the U.S. 13.7 billion searches are performed in Google and of those 20% are related to location?

If you operate a brick and mortar store in addition to your online store then these numbers should demonstrate just how important local search is for your business.

Luckily Google wants to help you take advantage of this potential traffic with Google Places, their local search product for small business owners.

In this post we'll look at how to create your free Google Places listing so your business can start getting more visitors both in-store and online.

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3 Questions Every Merchant Needs to Ask Themselves When Planning a Pop-Up

3 Questions Every Merchant Needs to Ask Themselves When Planning a Pop-Up

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Taking the leap from selling exclusively online to entering the world of physical retail doesn't have to be an "all-in" experience. In fact, thanks to the rise of the pop-up, you can now experiment with offline retail while avoiding all the risks and overhead costs that come with starting a traditional brick and mortar operation.

However, in order to save you from losing sleep (and money) over planning your first physical retail experiment, we're going to walk through the most important questions you'll need to ask yourself when launching a pop-up. 

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4 Easy Ways to Get Better Reviews on Your Google Places Page

4 Easy Ways to Get Better Reviews on Your Google Places Page

Customer reviews and testimonials have always been an effective way to demonstrate third party proof that your business is trustworthy and does what it says it does.

And with local search services like Google Places now prominently displaying reviews, they've become more important than ever.

However, getting authentic reviews and testimonials on a consistent basis will require a proactive approach that encourages customers to engage with your profile. 

The good news is, when used to your advantage, reviews provide multi-channel retailers with invaluable feedback about their products and services and are an excellent marketing tool that can motivate new customers to visit your website or physical retail location.

Let's take a look at how you can start getting better Google Places reviews for your business. 

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4 Simple Ways to Drive Sales After the Holiday Retail Rush

4 Simple Ways to Drive Sales After the Holiday Retail Rush

Boosting sales after the holidays | Shopify Retail blogThe holiday season is one of the best times of the year for many store owners.

‘Tis the season for retail sales — after all, the National Retail Federation shows that holiday sales increased 3% (to $626.1 billion) in 2014. And this is the time of year when sales help many retailers move their accounts back to black.

But what about when it’s over? How can you continue to drive sales when everyone has finished their holiday spending sprees?

After spending significant sums in the months leading up to the holidays, some shoppers have the blues after receiving their credit card bills in January. The months of January and February are some of the lowest spending months of the year for the average U.S. consumer according to Gallup data — but that doesn’t mean shopping grinds to a complete halt.

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7 Ways to Optimize Your Google Places Listing for More Traffic

7 Ways to Optimize Your Google Places Listing for More Traffic

Offering potential customers complete, accurate, and meaningful information about your local business at the exact moment they’re searching for services or products that you sell can lead to more traffic and sales, both in-store and online.

Google Places for Business is a service that helps business owners share information about their stores, products, and geographic locations with interested shoppers when those shoppers search for products or types of businesses on various Google properties.

The service is aimed specifically at brick-and-mortar shops and boutiques or multi-channel retailers that sell both from a physical retail location and an online store.

In our last post, we looked at how to get started with Google places. In this post we'll show you seven areas you need to pay attention to in order to make your Google Places listing as compelling to searchers as possible. 

Let's dive in.

1. Follow the Google Places Quality Guidelines

The first step in optimizing your Google Places listing is making sure you meet Google's quality guidelines. This is the basic information Google wants to see in place and the foundation for creating a good listing. 

You can find the Google Places for Business Quality Guidelines in the help section of the Places site. These guidelines are short and simple, so take a few minutes to read through them.

The key takeaways are:

  • Be certain you’re authorized to manage the Places listing

  • Represent your business accurately online and offline

  • Use precise location information

2. Fully Complete Your Places Listing

Google and many marketing experts recommend that you make your Places listing as complete as possible in order to make it more attractive to searchers.

Search Engine Optimization consultant Geoff Kenyon explains“Google wants to give users the best experience possible; in most circumstances the user will have a better experience if there is more information present on the Places page. This means not only filling out the required text fields but also the optional ones."

The implication is that all other things being equal, Google, given a choice between two similar Places listings, would display the more complete listing more prominently.

Even when several results are shown side-by-side — as is the case with Google’s new local carousel (search for “coffee new york” for an example) — a more complete listing will be more compelling to the shopper.

With this in mind, be certain to include your website URL, email address, telephone number, hours of operation, accepted forms of payment and well written description of your business.

3. Choose Proper Business Categories

Google Places listings are categorized to help users find just the sort of business they want.

For the most part, Google will show a business’s first three categories to help users decide which listings to examine further when it displays local search results. Additional categories are often displayed only when the users clicks a link.

There are strong indications that Google uses the category information you provide, in part, to decide when or how prominently to display your listing.

With this in mind it is very important to select categories that accurately describe your business and that will resonate with your potential customers.

Mike Blumenthal, an expert in local search, has a neat tool to help you choose categories for your Google Places for Business listing based on words or phrases. Blumenthal also has lists of current Places categories that you can review:

Google recommends that you choose more specific categories rather than more general ones. “The important thing is that the categories are accurate and describe your business well. Google's search algorithm makes sure that users looking for ‘Book Stores’ will see businesses in more specific categories like ‘Used Book Stores,’ ‘Comic Book Stores,’ and ‘Rare Book Stores’ too.”

4. Write Meaningful Descriptions

Depending on a user’s device or context, Google may show more or less of your Google Places listing.

When the user does see a business description, you want that description to be persuasive and drive clicks.

The goal then should be to convey your core value proposition to the customer and to think of clickthroughs rather than focusing on stuffing keywords.

Google is already using your geography and the categories that you selected to decide which Places listings to show in response to a particular search query, so use this opportunity to communicate with words that speak directly to your potential customer and position your business as the solution to their problems.

5. Include Rich Content

In 2012, Digital marketing firm, Meditative, released the results of an eye-tracking study done to determine what users looked at when they were viewing Google Places listings on an iPhone.

Interestingly, for the first couple of listings, users’ eyes moved from left to right across the listing information. But by about the third listing, the user’s attention had almost completely moved to the pictures positioned along the right-side of the screen.

In other words, when given many listings to look at, people will often rely on a photograph to decide which listings merit additional attention.

Google has also started to include more photographs in some places listings, giving users the opportunity to view several of a listing’s pictures.

With this in mind, consider adding as much rich content — pictures and video primarily — as makes sense to communicate what your store sells and why it is special. Also, the higher quality images and video you can provide, the better.

You can also include other content like special offers, coupon codes, recent blog posts, or updates from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+.

6. Encourage Customer Reviews and Feedback

In some instances, Google will display a Place listing’s reviews, photo, and name only — with the reviews getting top billing. This means that if you want your Places listing to perform well in say the Google local search carousel, you’ll need customer reviews.

When shoppers visit your physical store, consider handing them a card with the URL for your Places listing on it, and ask them to take a moment to write a review.

You could also include a link to your Places listing on your website or encourage people to leave reviews when you send them transactional emails or newsletters.

7. Integrate with Google+

Google is encouraging business with Places listings to integrate those listings with a Google+ for Business account.

Integrating Places with Plus will give your business the ability to:

    • Create posts that customers can read

    • Respond to reviews

    • Set a cover photo

The process is as simple as creating a Google+ profile with the email address associated with your Places account.

What's your experience with Google Places? Have you found it to be a good source of inbound traffic for your business?


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Retailers Lose $45 Billion Annually to Theft, Here's How Signage Can Offset That

Retailers Lose $45 Billion Annually to Theft, Here's How Signage Can Offset That

Signage preventing retail theft | Shopify Retail

Who doesn’t want to add to their bottom line? It could start with a sign.

According to Business Insider, American retailers lose $45 billion annually to retail theft. Shoplifting alone accounts for $10 billion in losses. Many small businesses aren’t able to afford the same security measures used by big-box retail chains, such as expensive scanners at the front door and hidden theft-prevention tags, but signage provides an inexpensive way to curb retail theft and minimize loss.

Losses from theft can cause huge retail chains to go out of business if left unchecked. Knowing what your signs should say and where to place them may determine whether or not a thief targets your place of business.

SmartSign co-founder and CEO Blair Brewster says "The goal of retail theft-prevention signs is to scare the thieves, not to intimidate legitimate buyers. Your signs should be a reflection of who you are and what you’re selling.”

In this post, we'll cover some practical tips and best practices on how you can use signage to deter theft. 

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Shopify + Campaign Monitor: The Retailer’s Guide to Email Marketing

Shopify + Campaign Monitor: The Retailer’s Guide to Email Marketing

Retailer Guide to Email Marketing | Shopify Retail blogAs a retailer, you want to be as connected with your customers as possible. When you have a new product, you want your fan base to know so they can get to your store or to your website to make a purchase.

Not only do you want subscribers to receive timely messages about new products to help drive revenue, but you also want to keep them up-to-date whenever they make a purchase. You need to send payment confirmation emails, shipping notifications, and other transactional updates.

Retailers can also use strategic email marketing to improve customer retention, improve buyer trust, and increase conversion rates. With email, it’s simple to showcase products and reach customers right where they are.

In this comprehensive guide, Shopify and Campaign Monitor will break down email marketing specifically for retail. We’ll discuss why email is the best marketing channel for retail businesses, as well as how to automate, personalize, and design beautiful emails to captivate and delight your customers and prospects. We’ll also give you helpful tips on how you can integrate your email marketing efforts with existing systems.

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How Two Retirees are Out-Hustling You With a Gourmet Condiment Business

How Two Retirees are Out-Hustling You With a Gourmet Condiment Business

Little Acre Gourmet condiments | Shopify Retail

Have you heard the one about the vegetarian who started a hot dog stand?

It’s not a joke but a reality for Bill Ahrens who started Downtown Dogs in Dover, New Hampshire after retiring from the corporate world.

“I never liked eating meat,” Bill says.

Bill’s disdain for the taste of meat dates back a long way. As a child, he’d do anything he could to cover up the taste of hamburger or other meats served for dinner. “He’d put ketchup and A1 sauce on everything,” his wife Trina says. “He became an A1 sauce fanatic.”

So what inspires a vegetarian to sell all-beef hot dogs, among others, on the streets of Dover?

“It was an easy way to get people to eat the condiments I love so much,” Bill says.

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Boosting Customer Lifetime Value: Turn One-Time Shoppers into Repeat Customers

Boosting Customer Lifetime Value: Turn One-Time Shoppers into Repeat Customers

Shoppers engaging in storefront | Shopify Retail blogA common misconception for consumer brands is that the marketing process ends at the point of purchase.

Instead, smart brands recognize that a customer’s lifetime value — or the net profit that you’ll take in over the course of your entire relationship with a customer — is far more important than any singular purchase in terms of revenue and influence over others.

But that customer lifetime value will continue to stay low if they only shop in your store once and never return. The subject of luring customers into your storefront over and over again has become a hot topic in recent years as retailers come to this realization. Luckily, there are some surefire strategies to keep your customers coming back for more.

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Click and Collect: Reduce Returns And Increase Foot Traffic With In-Store Pickup

Click and Collect: Reduce Returns And Increase Foot Traffic With In-Store Pickup

Click and collect shipping | Shopify Retail blogWhen it comes to maintaining a healthy bottom line, returns may feel like a retailer’s kryptonite. But offering flexible shipping options, like click and collect, can minimize the need for returns and exchanges and keep sales strong.

Store pickup (or click and collect) allows customers to buy online and pick up their order from the retailer’s physical store, or from a third-party location. In recent years, it has really taken hold, with a growing number of retailers adding alternatives for customers and dedicated return locations like train station lockers popping up everywhere.

Ordering online and collecting in store is big business in commerce. By letting a customer check size, color, and shape before walking out and upselling at the same time, thousands of stores are decreasing returns and selling more, all while offering highly valued flexibility.

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