Start Selling Online: Shifting from Brick & Mortar to eCommerce

It’s no secret that the world is changing, and businesses are being forced to change along with it. Organizations large and small have felt the impact of COVID-19 and the changes this pandemic has forced upon the retail sector.

The closure of brick-and-mortar shops has highlighted major gaps in existing sales and distribution models for many, and retailers are being forced to either:

  1. Quickly explore eCommerce as a viable new sales strategy
  2. Optimize their existing eCommerce website to make up for lost sales in-store
  3. Launch an eCommerce website to supplement sales made through Amazon or another marketplace

Understanding this, and hearing many questions from within the industry, our team has developed a free webinar for retailers hoping to launch or optimize their eCommerce sales strategies.

Through this webinar, companies will learn:

  • Key Considerations When Exploring eCommerce
  • How Brick & Mortar and eCommerce Compare
  • The eCommerce Ecosystem
  • Marketplaces and Direct-to-Consumer Websites
  • Merchandising Your Products Online
  • Going Mobile
  • How to Get Started Today

You will leave the session with tangible information you can use to launch an eCommerce website or properly optimize your product content for more organic sales.

Join us on Wednesday, April 22nd at 11am EST for this free virtual session.

Key Takeaways from “Start Selling Online”

On Wednesday, April 22nd, geekspeak Commerce hosted a free webinar titled Start Selling Online: Shifting from Brick & Mortar to eCommerce. The webinar covered everything from current sales data, to top eCommerce platforms and marketplaces, to tangible tips that can help retailers get started today on their shift to an online channel.

Presented by Tricia Williams and Megan Kimmerer, facilitated by Melanie McCabe, and with Isaac Wanzama as a Q&A panelist, the webinar covered a lot of ground and saw great engagement from audience members interested in making the shift.

To view the full webinar, click here.

Here are some key takeaways from the session:

1. It’s not business as usual.

We’ve all had to adjust to life during this pandemic, whether that’s personally or professionally. Because of this, businesses have adapted in order to survive – and they’re doing so creatively, innovating in ways big and small. Online, we’ve actually seen some promising numbers in terms of sales and revenue. According to Digital Commerce 360, during the weeks of March 22nd to April 4th in the USA and Canada:

  • The number of online orders for web-only retailers increased 52% from the same period last year.
  • Revenue for these web-only retailers increased 30%.
  • The number of online orders for primarily brick and mortar retailers increased 56% from the same period last year.
  • Revenue for these brick and mortar retailers increased 43%.

2. What are consumers actually purchasing?

The top 5 fastest growing items:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Bread machines
  • Cough and cold medicine
  • Soups
  • Dried grains and rice

The top 5 fastest declining items:

  • Luggage
  • Briefcases
  • Cameras
  • Men’s swimwear
  • Bridal clothing

These trends, which are provided by Stackline as of March 2020, make sense given what most of us are doing in our new day-to-day lives – staying home, stocking up on non-perishables, and putting weddings and events on hold.

3. eCommerce activities include much more than just selling product online.

 When considering the shift from brick and mortar to eCommerce, companies can explore any of the following:

  • Online auctions
  • Online banking and electronic payments
  • Online ticketing
  • Trip/flight booking (though most of us are not currently doing this)
  • Appointment booking and payment
  • Subscription model
  • Deals, coupons and promotions
  • On-demand services and delivery

4. Why does eCommerce matter?

In the current climate, eCommerce is helping businesses survive and thrive by giving consumers access to the goods and services they cannot otherwise pick up in store. In more general terms, eCommerce allows companies to expand their reach from local foot traffic to international audiences. It’s a long-term sales strategy that should continue to supplement your in-store sales, even as the world goes back to “normal.”

5. What are the key considerations when exploring eCommerce?

What in-store operations can you leverage to help with your online sales?

  • Warehouse space
  • Inventory management
  • Customer service
  • Payment gateways
  • What logistics might your team need help with from a local partner?
    • Shipping/delivery
  • Where will you sell online?
    • On your own direct-to-consumer website, with full control over products, marketing, customer support and more
    • On a marketplace like Amazon, which provides instant access to shoppers as well as logistics support
  • If selling on your own website makes sense for your business, what are your options?
    • Add a plugin to your existing site in order to enable eCommerce capabilities
    • Leverage a hosted platform like Shopify to help you build a new website
    • Create a self-built eCommerce store using your development team or knowledge of web design

6. How to properly merchandise your products online

  • Categorize products online like you would in-store
  • Identify your key customer and target your messaging to them
  • Use great photography and other visuals
  • Make sure your product listings are optimized for a mobile screen

7. Top 5 tips for getting started today

To dig in deeper to each of these areas and find out exactly what was shared during the live webinar, be sure to check out the recording here.

Common Amazon Seller Content Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

For the new seller, Amazon can be a tricky platform to navigate. The marketplace has many lengthy guidelines that sellers must follow, related to anything from the content you can publish, to logistical requirements like how quickly you need to respond to customer inquiries or ship products after they are ordered. Because of the number of detailed guidelines, it can be easy to make mistakes, especially for the first-time seller.

Below are some of the most common content-related mistakes made by Amazon sellers, and how to avoid them.

1. Not optimizing your written content

When it comes to selling on Amazon, it is not enough to simply list your product and hope shoppers will make a purchase. Optimized copywriting that takes full advantage of formatting allowances, character limits and search engine optimization (SEO) is key in ensuring your products are searchable to the Amazon audience. Most Amazon categories allow for five feature bullets and up to 2,000 characters in the product description – this is valuable real estate for SEO-friendly keywords that will drive traffic to your product. Another important tip to note is to present the most important information upfront, within the product title and feature bullets, leaving additional information and more narrative content further down in the long description. 

Need help with optimized Amazon product listings? Learn more here.

2. Not localizing your content for the market

For sellers expanding into new markets for the first time, it is important to remember to localize your content for the specific geographical area in which you are selling. This may seem obvious when it comes to selling in different languages – but taking into account the subtle differences in the spelling of certain English words between Canada, the US and the UK shows that you’ve put thought into marketing your products in those areas. In terms of presenting your content in different languages, it is worth investing in a professional translation service to ensure your copy is properly interpreted and makes just as much sense to a shopper across the globe.

Looking for a professional who can translate and localize your content on Amazon? We can help.

3. Not following eCommerce photography standards

The ideal way to showcase your product in a hero image is to make sure the product is set up alone on a white background. This ensures shoppers can see exactly what it is they are buying, and excludes any potential distractions within the frame. For Amazon, it is important to ensure your product takes up at least 85% of the total frame and that there isn’t any small text on the image that would render un-readable on mobile. While you can have infographics and lifestyle images within your gallery, the leading image should be your product on a white background.

Need to fill your Amazon image gallery with great photography? See what we can do for you.

4. Constantly changing or updating your content

While it is okay – and sometimes important – to make updates to your content every now and then, you should aim to create product content that is evergreen (meaning it can stay the same season to season). Each time you make a significant change to your Amazon product listing, the search algorithm re-indexes your page, potentially leading to a decrease in your organic ranking. Including seasonal promotions in your title, bullets or images can date your listing if not removed immediately after the promotional period, and so should be kept to a minimum.

If your Amazon content is in need of a refresh, see how we can optimize it once for better ranking.

5. Not paying attention to the real people

For a first-time Amazon seller, it can be easy to forget about “the other guys” on Amazon. Your goal in selling on a marketplace is to direct shoppers to your page over your competitor’s. As such, it is important to understand what your competitors are doing on Amazon – including what kind of content they are using to market their products. Complete a brief competitive landscape analysis to make sure your content is at a comparable or higher quality than other sellers’.

Perhaps even more important than understanding your competitors is understanding your shoppers. Pay attention to your reviews and customer questions when you receive them, responding to people in a timely manner. Before you receive your first reviews, check out reviews on your competitors’ product listings and make sure your content reflects common questions about the kinds of products you are selling.

Trying to do everything on your own as a new Amazon seller, without the help of an Amazon content expert, can be a daunting task. From account setup and management, to inventory coordination, to content creation, the Amazon marketplace can seem overwhelming at times. These content mistakes are common to many first-time sellers and can be easily avoided by following the tips provided.

Amazon Pay Per Click: How to Launch Your Own Ad Campaigns on Amazon

As experienced eCommerce sellers know, bringing shoppers to your page is not always a simple feat. From implementing quality SEO practices to launching well-researched and engaging Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns, there is work required to gain visibility online. As more and more shoppers turn to Amazon to search for and purchase products, advertising on the platform becomes increasingly important. That being said, it is not enough to simply jump right into the advertising game. Amazon PPC requires preparation and a set of steps to follow to ensure a higher rate of success.

1. Take a Look at Your Product Detail Page

The very first step in crafting a quality Amazon PPC campaign is to self-audit your Amazon basic listing. This includes conducting a review of your entire product detail page, focusing on the following elements:

  • Customer Reviews: How many reviews do I have? What is my average rating? If there are negative reviews, what are the customers calling out? What do customers seem to love about my product?
  • Image Gallery: Am I using all of the images available to me? Is my first image on a plain, white background? Do I have a variety of lifestyle images that reflect the uses and benefits of my product?
  • Optimized Content: Are my Product Title, Feature Bullets and Product Description written at a high-quality level? Is the content optimized with keywords that have good search volume?

Optimized content is critical to the success of your PPC campaign on Amazon. In order to optimize your content, you must perform keyword research using an online tool like Merchant Words, Google AdWords Keyword Planner, or Keyword Inspector to discover what words shoppers are using to search for products like your own. Incorporate those words into your basic listing copy in order to increase your SEO score and show up in search.

Remember that PPC campaigns require you to pay each time a shopper clicks on your ad – so it is important to do whatever you can to make sure a purchase is made.

2. Take a Look at the Numbers

There are two key numeric factors to take into consideration both at the launch of a campaign and throughout the long-term monitoring process. These factors are Budget and Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS). When you are creating an Amazon PPC campaign from scratch, it is important to start with a minimal budget, for example $10 per campaign. Once your campaign becomes profitable, keep increasing your budget as long as your ACoS is under your threshold.

ACoS is determined by the amount of money you are spending, divided by the amount of money you are bringing in (ACoS = ad spend / sales). The maximum threshold for your ACoS should be your profit margin. When launching a new product or campaign, you may spend more for branding purposes. However, try to limit that branding period. With proper optimization and marketing, sales will naturally rise and ACoS should start to even out.

3. Start Your Campaign: Auto or Manual

The easiest way to start a campaign is by choosing to launch an auto-targeted sponsored campaign. With an automatic campaign, Amazon decides when and where to display your product ads based on the keywords used throughout your listing. The advantage to advertising this way is the simplicity of the set up and the fact that minimal keyword research is required. However, automatic campaigns mean automatic bidding, which can sometimes lead to bids placed on low or non-converting keywords.

You may also choose to set up a manual campaign. This route requires some extra work in the form of manual bidding and keyword research. If you have done a good job of optimizing your basic listing, you should already have a list of high quality keywords. From there, you can choose which keywords to bid on, and create a list of negative keywords that do not apply to your product at all. For example, if you sell indoor rugs, you may wish to indicate the words “outdoor” and “patio” as negative keywords you do not want your product to be associated with on Amazon.

4. Expand Your Campaign

Once you have launched your campaign, it is imperative that you continue to monitor it as time goes on to ensure your budget is being properly used and the keywords you’re bidding on are performing well. As you monitor, remember that at least two weeks need to have gone by in order to produce valuable metrics for reporting purposes; therefore, do not make any drastic changes to your campaign until at least two weeks have gone by.

Once you have reached the two-week mark, download your Search Term Report to see what customers have been searching in order to find your product. By sorting out the list of search terms that are converting well, you can find a list of quality long-tail keywords (keywords with three or more words).

To further expand your campaign, create a phrase match campaign using those long-tail keywords and include both generic and exact negative keywords. Using Amazon’s recommended bids, run this campaign for two weeks. After this two-week period, monitor your campaign every other day and based on your ACoS, reduce bids or pause the under-performing keywords.

Now that you know how to get started with Amazon PPC, it is important to continue managing and monitoring your campaigns on a regular basis.

If you need help managing your Amazon PPC efforts, contact us today. Our Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Specialists have the knowledge and experience to help you increase traffic to your products on Amazon.

Are you getting the most out of your Amazon Ads? Here’s how to perform your own campaign audit and find out.

As an Amazon advertiser, it is a critical practice to actively manage your campaigns and audit them frequently for inconsistencies, information regarding which of your products are performing best, and clues surrounding areas of improvement or optimization.

Without this high-touch approach to advertising, your PPC campaigns could be sitting stagnant, using up your budget with little return. If you have Amazon PPC campaigns that have been running for a while without much review, it may be time to take a look at how they are performing.

Follow this simple checklist and assess where your own PPC campaigns may have room to improve.

The Basic Audit: ACoS, Budget and CTS

1. ACoS

Start with ACoS, or Advertising Cost of Sales. The formula for this is ACoS = ad spend / sales. Is your ACoS under the threshold? In order to decide what is a reasonable ACoS for your unique campaign, you first need to calculate your profit margin. Make sure to include every cost to your business such as manufacturing costs, Amazon fees, and even yours and your employees’ salaries if applicable. Unless you are new to the market and using PPC advertising for branding purposes, your ACoS should always be lower than your profit margin.

2. Budget

Next, move on to your budget. Is your campaign exhausting its daily budget? Select three days of the last week to see if the campaign has exceeded its budget in any of those three days.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

From this example, we can see that our first campaign is running smoothly, but the second campaign has been having some budget issues. When this happens, it means the ads in your campaign are missing out their potential views and clicks because once you’ve exceeded your budget for the day, your campaigns are paused.

Your next step would be to check data for the previous 30 days. If your ACoS for this campaign is under its threshold, then it is advisable to increase your daily budget by 20%. If the ACoS is over the threshold, then it is time to dig a little deeper to determine why your budget is being exhausted.

3. Click Through Rate:

Now is the time to check your CTR or Click Through Rate. CTR indicates how relevant your keywords are to the product at hand. If the CTR of any one product is less than 0.1%, you might want to double check how relevant your chosen keywords are to your product. It is also recommended to check the competitiveness of your bidding to ensure your product is visible in prominent placement. If you are in Seller Central, check out your Placement Report to gain better insight about your campaign’s CTR.

More in Depth: Search Term Report

Once you’ve completed a basic audit of your campaigns and have gained some insight into their performance, you can now move into a more in-depth audit by taking a look at your Search Term Report.

Organize the report in descending order, by Clicks. Look for keywords and search terms that generated the most clicks but did not generate sales. Determine if that search term is actually related to your product. If not, then move that term into the negative keyword list.

If the term is relevant, then review the product description in detail to see if the keyword is being properly showcased throughout your product listing.

Going Even Deeper: The Competition

After you have performed an audit of your own PPC campaigns, the next step is to check out the competition. How are your competitors performing and what could you be doing to improve your own results?

  1. Determine who your biggest competitor is and go through their product listings to collect ideas on how to optimize your own product description page.
  2. Perform a reverse ASIN search to see what keywords are driving sales to your competitor’s listing. There are various tools available like Sellics and Keyword Inspector that will allow you to find this information.
  3. Look at their reviews to determine what customers like or dislike about the competitive product and bring those important insights back to your own offering.

Auditing your competitors’ listings brings great insight to your own and helps you understand why customers may be purchasing comparable products from different companies.

It can be challenging and often time consuming to actively manage your own PPC efforts on Amazon. Third-party SEM Managers that perform regular audits and lead your campaigns for you are often more accurate and of higher value to your business.

Selling Products on Amazon? 5 Reasons Why Your Brand Needs an Amazon Advertising Strategy

With more and more online shoppers turning to Amazon to search for and purchase products every day, there is a higher expectation for quality content and more competition than ever before. If you are a brand that is currently selling on Amazon, then you know first-hand that this is true. Last week, we wrote about a new update to Amazon PPC ad placement that changes the way advertisers leverage Amazon as a strategy, and can lead to massive returns.

If you are not already advertising on Amazon, it is now more important than ever to get started. Here are the top five reasons you should be taking advantage of Amazon ads.

1. There are over 300 million customers on Amazon

Not only that, but the number keeps growing. The people who own these 300 million active Amazon accounts are shopping regularly in every category, meaning you don’t necessarily want to reach every single one of them, but the odds of your target audience being represented within that 300 million is extremely high. Leveraging Amazon PPC, you can target by keyword to ensure you’re zoning in on those users that matter the most to your brand.

2. Over 50% of American consumers use Amazon as the first step in a product search

Google is still a search powerhouse but when it comes to products specifically, Amazon is the resource most often used as a first step in research. As online shoppers compare products in their early searches, your own products could be showing up through high quality, targeted Amazon ads. If you need help gauging what high quality Amazon advertising looks like, learn more about our Amazon PPC services or schedule a call with us to find out.

3. Shoppers see your ad when their purchase intent is high

Reiterating our last point, more people in the United States use Amazon to search for products over Google. When these shoppers are viewing your Amazon ads, they are doing so while they are already in the mindset to make a purchase and are one step closer to adding a product to their shopping cart. With engaging copy and visuals, your product ads on Amazon have the power to lead shoppers to click on your product over that of a competitor.

4. You can choose the type of ad that works for your brand

There are currently three different Amazon PPC ad options that you can choose from, depending on your account type, unique brand and products, business objectives, and of course budget. Sponsored Product Ads show up above search results and have recently begun appearing within organic search results based on the keywords you choose to rank for. Headline Ads now appear in Amazon’s header area, sidebar area, or below search results, and are typically more generic based on relevant keywords. Finally, Product Display Ads – available only to Amazon Vendors – are located on the sidebar of related product listing pages. The types of Amazon ads you choose, as well as their landing pages, are strategic in nature and based on your unique brand.

5. There are experts available to help you

Whether you are completely new to Amazon advertising, or don’t have the bandwidth to manage your campaigns internally, the geekspeak team is available to help. With 15 years of industry experience, our team of SEM Experts live and breathe Amazon. From an audit of your Amazon Marketing Service or Seller Central account,  to ongoing PPC management, geekspeak can work alongside you every step of the way. We are up-to-date on Amazon’s changing trends and will ensure you know about the important updates that are relevant to you like new ad placements or upcoming changes to your dashboard.


The task of selling products on Amazon can be a challenging one. Chances are if you are reading this article and are interested in Amazon A+, you already know this – because you have experienced the level of effort and determination it takes to craft a quality product and sell it successfully. The strategic presentation of your brand and products to your buyers online – and on Amazon specifically – is a critical step in the selling process. According to research, over 50% of consumers in the United States use Amazon as a first step when searching for a product.

With quality Amazon product SEO and an exceptional Amazon A+ page to support your product listing, the sales numbers continue to speak for themselves. Amazon A+ content has been proven to boost sales, according to Amazon, by 3-10% on average.


Amazon A+ content is a long-form product page that lives below your basic listing and enhances your product’s story through lifestyle imagery, feature breakouts and the ability to create a narrative that speaks to potential buyers. Single product vendors and large-scale retailers alike can benefit from this custom content that brings a brand to life and helps shoppers envision themselves using your products.


The short answer to this question: Yes.

Our experience in creating hundreds of Amazon A+ pages for small to large-sized Amazon Vendors, tells us that A+ content has immense value.

If your goal is to drive sales on Amazon through high-quality, strategic Amazon product listing optimization, we can help.


Design: Amazon A+ is similar to third-party Amazon Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) in terms of its overall purpose and design capabilities. Where Amazon EBC offers full templates for easy design as well as modules that lead to creative flexibility, Amazon A+ is all about the modules with the addition of interactive elements like comparison charts that further enhance your product’s story against a lineup of similar offerings.

Content: Amazon A+ content typically includes a narrative that introduces the brand and product, a selection of features and benefits, a product comparison chart outlining other brand offerings, and high-resolution imagery showcasing the product in different situations.

What You Need: A product, an Amazon Vendor Central account, and a rockstar team of copywriters and designers who understand how to sell.


Amazon basic listings are just that… basic. While required, and optimizable with strategic copy and imagery that enhance your product, the best way to fully maximize your Amazon listing is with the customized storytelling capacity of Amazon A+. That being said, it is not enough to throw together a one-pager and hope for results. There are specifics to Amazon A+ content and we are the specialists.

Here’s What You Need to Know About the New Amazon Store Fronts

Sellers on Amazon will now have more online space to showcase their entire line of products. Amazon is replacing its Brand Pages with Amazon Stores, an improved solution that allows sellers to create a customized shopping experience with their own landing page on Amazon. It’s a free, self-service product that lets brand owners design and display a multi-page store that showcases their products and brand for an enhanced ecommerce shopping experience.

Amazon Stores allow for more creativity than the previous brand pages. You can build highly customizable content with mobile-friendly templates and tiles, using a wide variety of content types and visual elements. Additionally, you have access to built-in reporting tools to measure and optimize your store design. Stores are typically approved within 72 hours and provide sellers with a unique store URL ( brand).

All Amazon sellers who are registered on Amazon’s Brand Registry 2.0 are automatically eligible to create Amazon Stores.

Key features of Amazon Stores include:

A Multi-Page Experience

Multi-page Amazon Stores exclusively showcase your brand and products. You can create multiple pages per product category on your store with links that will take customers directly to your product listing. You can also direct customers to certain storefront pages in your Headline Search Ads and utilize wider keywords that target multiple products.

Store Builder

Creating an Amazon Store is free of charge and easy to create using Amazon’s self-service store builder that features easy-to-use, intuitive templates. Amazon Store Builder is available through your AMS or Seller Central account.

Rich Media Content

Utilize rich media and content from text to lifestyle images and videos for an enhanced shopping experience.

Integrated Promotion

To drive awareness and traffic, you can use built-in social features like social sharing buttons, along with promotional tools such as Headline Search Ads to boost performance.

Cross Selling

If you have items that complement each other, you can promote them through cross selling. For example, if you sell both shoes and socks, on the shoes page you can dedicate a section to showcase your sock products as well.

The Layout

Amazon Stores offer the ability to create page(s) that suit your specific brand needs. Each page features a header and footer along with surrounding content tiles. You can choose from three preset templates or create your own. The three preset templates include:

Product Grid: The simplest way to display your selection of products.

Marquee: A curated product display with added space for images and copy such as product descriptions.

Highlight: Allows for a broader selection of products with more space for product information and visual content. This template delivers a more content-rich experience.

To curate an enriched shopping experience for customers, brands can handpick product listings or use dynamic tiles that auto-populate product displays with “Best Selling” or “Recommend for You” product categories based on shoppers’ insights.

The new Amazon stores are an upgrade from Amazon’s previous brand pages, as they provide a dedicated shopping space for individual brands with the aim to drive customer loyalty and increase sales. It provides a destination for customers to learn about your brand and view your entire collection of products rather than simply making a one-off purchase.

Conversational Commerce and The Rise of Chatbots–Automation with a Personal Touch

While mobile devices have always served as tools for communication, the way we interact with these devices is quickly changing. Personal calls and texts are commonplace activities but more and more, online time is spent in communication between consumers and retailers. Increasingly, new tools are allowing brands to communicate with customers through mobile devices in new, innovative and personalized ways.

The idea of conversational commerce, coined by Uber’s Chris Messina, speaks to this growing trend of communication between businesses
and consumers through messaging apps. Rather than just clicking through pages on a website or emailing and calling companies to get information, users can now communicate with businesses instantly and in real-time through chatbots (automated chat agents), for a more personalized and conversational experience.

The explosion of online mobile device use in recent years has forced businesses to reinvent how they engage consumers; mobile devices accounted for almost 2 in 3 minutes spent online in December 2015, and more adults accessed the internet via mobile only than desktop only. While most adults still use both platforms, one in five Millennials (18-34) are mobile-only.  With this move to mobile, messaging apps like WeChat, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have become the go-to for communication on mobile phones. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, we can easily converse with chatbots (automated chat agents) in our messaging apps, much like we would any other contact. They can assist with everything from online shopping, to calling a cab and order food for delivery. We also interact with digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. Essentially, consumers are getting used to talking to machines

A big reason chatbots are increasingly popular, is the fact that people are tired of downloading an app for everything. With the exploding popularity of messenger apps, an alternative to creating yet another new app is to offer your service inside an app they already have. Sites like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter are introducing integrated bots to help with shopping, booking and customer service. These chatbots will answer customer questions and serve as a first point of contact for a brand, through text or even voice.

While chatbots offer a solution for ecommerce business owners to manage a high volume of one-to-one conversations, there are risks. Bots can lack personality and conversational flow, and often can’t deviate from a programmed script.  Also, when a bot launch goes wrong, it can be pretty embarrassing, like Microsoft’s chatbot Tay on Twitter.  Many retailers are experimenting with a mix of live support staff and automation for customer service, sales support and other commerce-related functions. Chatbots are intended to improve the user experience, not replace real people, and the right mix can make all the difference.

Ecommerce is becoming increasingly integrated into our lives in a more personalized and conversational way. Businesses are creating new and innovative touch points to reach consumers and sell their brand. With the amount of time consumers spend on mobile devices every day and the huge popularity of messagin

Now Playing: Harnessing live streaming to grow your e-commerce sales

With all the new technologies available to help e-commerce stores grow sales, perhaps the easiest to implement is live streaming video. It’s a measurable and cost-effective option that lets you tell consistent brand and product stories while explaining product benefits and offering click-to-buy convenience.

Apps from the likes of Meerkat and Periscope make it possible for just about anyone to create a live streaming video. Since its acquisition by Twitter, Periscope has become a popular vehicle through which to live stream video to a Twitter feed and allow real time comments from readers. Meerkat offers a similar service.

So how does this help the average e-commerce store?

Live streaming can be used in a variety of ways to create customer engagement, brand recognition, and, by extension, boost e-commerce sales.

Hosting a Question and Answer Session

There’s nothing worse than having to scroll through pages and pages of text to find the answer to some basic questions. Alleviate this consumer frustration by answering common questions posed by many of your customers on a live streaming video.

Make it fun, show how relatable and knowledgeable you or your employees are, introduce your business and boost consumer confidence in your store and products.

You don’t need to just sit and answer questions. Walk around the warehouse pulling products off shelves and explaining the use or asking for consumer feedback. Or show your customers products and ask for feedback on colours or dimensions.

The great thing about live streaming video is that it creates a chance to engage with customers. An engaged customer becomes a loyal shopper.

Product Demos

Using live streaming videos for product demonstrations can be a fun way to introduce a new product or to educate consumers about how the item can be used.

It’s a great way to build anticipation for a new product. Just be careful to stress excitement rather than making it an outright sales pitch. You want to engage customers not annoy them.

Personalized Customer Support

Take your customer support to a whole new level. Live stream videos can be used to walk consumers through the use of a product or as mini-training sessions.

For example, if your online store sells wool and knitting or crocheting supplies, you could offer a quick video on a how-to topic, such as how to cast on, how to wash hand knitted garments and so on.

Give your customers the opportunity to connect with your product experts via live streaming video as if they were in the same room.

Using live streaming video lets you connect with the customer in a way that text doesn’t. Create a following and you’re creating customer loyalty and confidence. Next time that customer wants a supply of wool, it will likely be your store they will want to visit.

Take Customers Behind the Scenes

Live streaming video is a great way to let customers see how you operate. If you sell handmade products, you could show how they’re made. Selling women’s apparel? Consider live streaming tips on what accessories would look great with what outfit.

No matter what kind of products you sell, live streaming allows you to use a behind-the-scenes strategy to build consumer confidence in your store. Show your human side and have fun.

Encourage interaction

Live streaming videos are super-easy to share on social media. So make sure you encourage your shoppers to share them on their own Facebook or Twitter feeds to increase the chances of people being made aware of your store, even if they hadn’t thought of visiting your site before.

The more people you can engage with and interact with on live stream video, the more organic reach your stream will have.

There are a myriad of ways to use live streaming video to grow online businesses. Host an event, ask for feedback, show how you make your products – it’s all about creating customer engagement, boosting confidence in you and your products, and, most importantly, generating new sales.