Stamps.com Blog

Stamps.com Blog

Get the latest information on the mailing and shipping industry.

Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses

August 9th, 2019 Comments off

If your small business does not have a strong SEO strategy, you are almost certainly missing out on customers. According to a recent survey, the vast majority of consumers search online to find businesses in their area. Local search is becoming increasingly important for small businesses who want to use the Internet to find new customers. The following local SEO tips can help you improve your online marketing strategy.

 

  1. Select Local Keywords

Keywords are the words or phrases that consumers type into search engines when they are looking for information online. As a small business, it is important to target select keywords to differentiate yourself from other brands online.

Local keywords are the perfect choice for a small business, even if you are mostly an online presence customers often prefer to purchase products from their own region. By including the town, city or region that you want to target in your keywords, you can attract consumers in that area while avoiding your site being lost in the huge number of results search engines return for more general keywords. For example, try using local keywords like “Bike Shop Orlando” in addition to more general keywords like “Bike Shop” to attract new customers.

 

  1. Submit Your Business to Listing Sites

Listing sites help people to browse and explore businesses in their local area. By adding your business to listing services such as Google Places, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and any other sites popular in your region, you can help to boost the visibility of your brand online.

It is very important to ensure that your profile on every listing site contains a working link to your website. Google counts links to your website as evidence of its authenticity, which can result in its algorithm ranking your site more highly. Up-to-date contact information also helps interested consumers in your local area to get in touch with your business, which increases the chance that they will become future customers of your brand.

 

  1. Engage With Customers Online

The Internet provides many opportunities to interact with the customers that support your brand. Encouraging them to leave reviews on your social media and listing site profiles can help to make your brand more visible online. Always reply to customers who take the time to review your brand to show that you care about feedback and are prepared to act on it.

Categories: Marketing for Ecommerce Tags:

3 Money Saving Tips for eBay Sellers

July 25th, 2019 Comments off

We currently sell about $14,000 a month in preowned merchandise on eBay, but expenses are high, and we’re always looking for ways to save money. If you want to be a successful eBay seller, it’s extremely important to run your business lean and mean.  The following tips will help you keep as much money in your pocket as possible.

Tip #1 – Sign Up for the PayPal Business Debit Card

First of all, sign up for the PayPal Business Debit Mastercard.  The PayPal debit card allows you to spend the money in your PayPal account while you’re out and about.  Cardholders earn 1% back on all purchases when they use the card as credit. Stamps.com customers can even use their PayPal debit card to purchase postage – this is a great method to get cashback on one of that largest expenses for online sellers!  We basically live off our card, so we get about $50 back a month.

Tip #2 – Scrutinize Your eBay Invoice

Another way to save money, is to go through your eBay invoice each and every month with a fine-tooth comb.  I am embarrassed to admit that I haven’t always done this.  In the past, if my eBay bill seemed about right, I didn’t bother to check it.  Not anymore.  A while back I was going through one of my invoices and realized that on a few of our listings, we were being charged for features that we didn’t want.  I’m not sure how that happened. For example, we were paying $1.50 per month for the item subtitle fee on a listing that had been sitting in our store for 10 months.  Uh oh.

Tip #3 – Perform a Physical Inventory Every Six Months

You can’t make money on merchandise that isn’t listed.  Once every six months eBay sellers should perform a physical inventory of the items they are selling.  I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve done inventory only to discover that, for some unknown reason, products we thought were listed were no longer on the site.  Many of the items we sell can get old over time, so it’s extremely important that we move product in and out as fast as possible.  If an item sits too long, we may have to throw it away.  What a waste of money!  It is extremely important to figure out what you have before going out and spending more money on inventory.

If you are a serious eBay seller, you need to run your business like a well-oiled listing machine. Following these tips will help you reach that goal!

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

Categories: Ebay Shipping Tags:

3 Tips for Ecommerce Sellers to Grow Sales on Amazon Prime Day

July 12th, 2019 Comments off

3 Tips for Growing Your Sales on Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day – it’s like Black Friday in the middle of summer, minus the turkey leftovers and holiday deadlines. This year as in the past, Amazon will offer its Prime members “a 2-day parade of epic deals” on Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16. And if 2018’s numbers are any indication – more than 100 million Prime Day products sold and an estimated 3.6 billion in sales – this year’s Prime Day Event promises to be another record-setter.

However, nowadays the Prime Day shopping frenzy isn’t limited to Amazon. Large, well-known competitors such was Walmart, Target, eBay and many other retailers have jumped on the Prime bandwagon by figuring out how to reap the benefits of this Amazon-invented buying holiday on their own sites. For example:

  • Starting July 15, Target will hold a major 2-day sale, with deals to include 40% off furniture and 30% off appliances.
  • Walmart has yet to divulge details about its upcoming deals, but its midsummer promotion runs July 14 through 17, so it bookends Prime Day. Walmart also teased a few major online-only deals on Dyson vacuums and HD laptops that will go live on July 14.
  • eBay’s July 15 “Crash Sale” was created in response to a past Amazon.com Prime Day site crash. Like Walmart, eBay extended its sale period with events starting as early as July 1. On July 15, eBay will offer doorbuster savings on top brands, but will also launch new deals every day through July 22.

But how exactly does Amazon’s Prime Day event translate to success for a regular ecommerce seller? Research shows that Amazon’s Prime Day creates a “halo effect” – a phenomenon where shoppers looking for deals on Amazon instinctively seek out great deals on other sites, too. This can absolutely include smaller e-commerce sellers … like you.

Here are 3 tips to help you attract shoppers to your site this Prime Day.

Tip #1: Create an Amazon Coupon for your Amazon listing. Since Prime Day is all about price discounts and great deals, sellers can bring extra attention to their product listings on Amazon.com with a great coupon offer.  Products with coupons include a highlighted “coupon” label showcasing the discount being offered.  This is a great method to ride the coat tails of Prime Day sales without having to participate in the Lightning Deals process, including the $500 Amazon fee to participate.   Important!  Coupons must be submitted at least 48 hours before the offer becomes active, so make sure you submit the coupon by Saturday, July 13 for coupons to be live by Tuesday, July 16.

Tip #2: Create a flash sale promo on your site. Offering a product at a deep discount appeals to shoppers’ competitive streak, because everyone loves catching a good deal! For your own flash sale, consider an item selling quickly on other sites. Or take advantage of your page analytics to see which products in your cart routinely get viewed but not purchased. And be sure to alert your customers via email and social media shortly before the sale starts.

Tip #3: Optimize your Google Shopping campaign on Prime Day. If shoppers cannot find the deals they want on Amazon.com, they’ll turn to Google to find them on other sites.  Make sure your website appears at the top of the listings in Google with an optimized Shopping campaign.  First, using the “view search queries” tool in the Keywords tab, scrub out keywords that have not generated a sale in the last 30 days. This action will allow you to spend more money on keywords that are producing revenue.  Then review your conversion stats: increase bids for those keywords that are producing sales and lower bids on those that aren’t.

The Bottom Line – Amazon Prime Day Can Increase Sales for All Sites

Make the power of Prime Day work for you! Pay attention to what the major retailers are doing to tap into Amazon’s event, then optimize your own online store with sales promotions and discounts on top selling products to take full advantage of Amazon Prime Day fever.

How To Start Planning for the Holiday Season — In July

July 9th, 2019 Comments off

Christmas in July Blog PostThe weather outside may not be frightful…but successful e-commerce is so delightful! And just imagine how delightful it will feel just a few months from now when you fully appreciate your advance preparation for the 2019 holiday season. Remember, many retailers find November and December alone makes up as much as 30 percent of their yearly revenue. It definitely pays to be proactive in planning, even if you’re presently thinking more about sandcastles than Santa.

Here are 5 reasons why it pays to get into the holiday selling spirit well in advance.

1. Your customers are already thinking ahead. Google Trends indicates searches for “Christmas Gift Ideas” begin in August and only go up from there. With a plethora of holidays stacking up once October hits – including Yom Kippur, Halloween and Thanksgiving – almost everyone gets busier and more frazzled as the year draws to a close.

2. Non-calendar holidays are key. You know about Black Friday (Nov. 29) and Cyber Monday (Dec. 2), but these aren’t the only retail-friendly dates to mark on your calendar. They may not appear on everyone’s to-do list, but as an e-commerce seller, you absolutely need to be prepared for Green Monday (Dec. 9), a shopping holiday similar to Cyber Monday that tends to fall on the second Monday of December, and Free Shipping Day (Dec. 14), a one-day event when merchants are encouraged to offer this perk with guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery. Create a holiday calendar so you know exactly which ecommerce promotions you’ll be participating in so you can be sure to plan accordingly as well as alert your customers.

3. Expanded holiday payment options and generous return policies appeal to shoppers. Many retailers extend additional payment options, discounts and loosened return windows during the busy holiday season. By taking the time to consider these factors now, you can make informed decisions once the busiest shopping season begins.

4. Intuitive mobile platforms attract shoppers on the go. Studies have shown that mobile shoppers make quicker purchasing decisions than desktop users. If you haven’t already done so, optimize your mobile site now to make it more responsive to mobile browsing.

5. Connecting with customers can benefit your bottom line. Whether it’s a curated Pinterest board of your holiday gift ideas, enthusiastic Tweets about products or personal emails to customers, your social media and personalized marketing can have a big impact on customers, especially during the stressful shopping season. Start your campaigns now by reaching out via abandoned-cart and after-sales emails or posting “Only 130 shopping days left!” teasers on social media. The more you connect with customers, the more you can be sure to offer them the products they want.

The bottom line
It’s often said that the days are long, but the years are short — so don’t let the holiday shopping season sneak up on you. Take steps now to consider your options and plan ahead for the busiest shopping season of the year. That way, when fall rolls around, you’ll be prepared to celebrate a successful season.

Using Two-Step Verification to Keep Your eBay Account Secure

June 28th, 2019 Comments off

A few months ago, I woke up to thousands of dollars of eBay sales.  I couldn’t believe how many iPhones I’d sold!  Unfortunately, I don’t sell iPhones.  Last weekend, the same thing happened to one of my former eBay students.  When she logged onto the site, she noticed that someone had used her account to list five PlayStation gaming consoles and a number of Samsung Galaxy Notes.  She changed her password over and over again, but that wasn’t enough to stop the attack.  Panic time!

 

The problem?  Our eBay accounts were hacked!  In both cases, eBay was alerted immediately, and customer service reps took care of the problem quickly.  Rumor has it that hackers prefer preying on seasoned eBay sellers who have accounts in good standing.  My former student has been buying on eBay for years and is now a successful seller.  And it was pretty obvious why I’d been hacked. I have a feedback score of almost 20,000, I’ve been on eBay since 2005, and I’d recently changed my password to one I’d used for years on numerous other accounts.  But that password change gave hackers the change to move in.  Bad move, Miriam.

 

Blocking hackers from your eBay account – installing two-step verification

Needless to say, I changed my eBay password again and followed the advice of a friend who supports his entire family selling estate sale items on eBay.  My friend cannot afford to have anything happen to his account, so his eBay account is set up for two-step verification.

What is two-step verification?
Basically, in order to log onto eBay, a person has to go through a two-step process.  The first step is inputting your eBay password.    Then, eBay will send you  a security code via text which must be entered as well.  If any of the two steps is not inputted correctly, the person will be blocked from logging in to eBay.

I set up two-step verification on both my eBay and PayPal accounts, and I haven’t had a problem since.

 

How to set up two-step verification in eBay

  1. Click on the “My eBay” link in the upper right-hand corner of the home page
  2. Go to the “Account” tab
  3. Click on the “Personal Information” or “Business Information” link on the left-hand side of the page
  4. Scroll down until you see the “Security Information” section
  5. Under this heading you will see “Two-Step Verification”
  6. Click on the link to the right of this section
  7. Follow eBay’s instructions on screen to complete the process.

 

How to set up two-step verification on PayPal
If you’d like to set up this feature on PayPal and you have a business account, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the summary page, click on “Profile”
  3. Choose “Profile and Settings”
  4. On the left-hand side of the page, click on “My Settings”
  5. Then scroll down and find the “Security Key” section
  6. Click on the link to the right of this section
  7. Click on “Register a New Mobile Device Number”
  8. Follow PayPal’s instructions on screen to confirm the process.

 

If you do not have a business account, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Click on the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the summary page
  3. Click the “Security” tab on the left-hand side of the page
  4. Go to the “Security Key” section
  5. Click on the link to the right of this section and follow PayPal’s instructions on screen

 

Setting up two-step verification may take a few minutes, but it’s well worth the security it provides.  This extra level of protection will give you peace of mind and will save you time in the future.

 

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055, Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM Pacific Time.