BIO: Rob Snell is author of a DUMMIES book, a now retired Yahoo! Store designer / developer, and a small business owner probably much like yourself.
Last year was a blast! Thanks, Brett for another PUBCON slot!
Everybody Loves Vegas, Baby!
WebmasterWorld's PubCon Las Vegas 2006
Wanted to share a cool little thing I just did that might help some of you with custom RTML stores when dealing with one or two products that are different from all the rest of your products.
FREE SHIPPING is one of the most powerful things you can offer shoppers on your store to motivate them to buy (more). In some industries, it's a given. When all your competion offers free shipping on sales over a certain dollar amount, if you don't do the same you're toast!
Long story, short: a client offers free shipping on certain types of products over a certain dollar amount. Cool. How to promote it on every page? I like to stick FREE SHIPPING right up there in a shopper's face right in the headline. Works well. Converts more shoppers into buyers. Sounds good, right?
Problem is, I'm lazy. And forgetful, too. I really hate having to hard code FREE SHIPPING into the names of products that get free shipping because I always forget to add the text to new products. Also, things change pretty often on this site. My client will suddenly drop the price on something and forget to remove FREE SHIPPING from the headline! So then the product won't qualify but still says "Free Shipping." Ouch. Nothing pisses off a customer faster than saying you offer free shipping on an item and then not giving it to them. And that usually comes out of my pocket.
Enter RTML and SMART TEMPLATES! It was pretty easy to write a SMART RTML TEMPLATE called FREE SHIPPING that sniffs out the price or sale-price, and automatically adds the words "- FREE SHIPPING" to the H1 tag (headline) on any item that has a price over a certain amount. The customer RTML code also adds a little FREE SHIPPING graphic right by the ORDER button, too.
Less than one tenth of same client's products are bulky or don't ship standard UPS and for whatever reason he does NOT want to offer FREE SHIPPING on those. So now I have to figure out some way to identify those products so as to NOT trigger all the FREE SHIPPING stuff.
Instead of adding a custom field called FREE-SHIPPING Y/N or trying to deal write RTML rules to deal with every possible situation, I came up with this little hack:
First, I tweak the template. I insert a WHEN NOT @disable-free-shipping statement as the first line in my FREE SHIPPING RTML template.
Now all the client has to do is edit the item that doesn't get free shipping, create a NEW-PROPERTY called disable-free-shipping as a Y/N field, and set it to NO.
NOTE: This does NOT affect the SHIPPING RULES you set up in the Store Manager, only what shows up on the page, but creating a little exception rule is a very helpful way to fix the occasional weirdness without rewriting your entire RTML template.
-- ROB SNELL
somewhere in rural Mississippi in my new office
P.S. Happy Birthday, Nephew Luke! (and the USA, too!)
POSTED THIS ON AMAZON A FEW MINUTES AGO...
Link: Amazon.com: Winning Results with Google AdWords: Books.
Want positive ROI on your Google Adwords campaigns? Buy this book. This book is required reading for all my clients thinking about buying Google Adwords.
This book is worth your time if you get one single idea how to organize, focus, tweak, or improve your various Google Adwords advertising campaigns. Newbie retailers looking to dip their toe into the dangerous, murky waters of paid search will learn much from this. Even grizzled veterans of search engine advertising will pick some stuff up, too.
For what it's worth, I'm an online retailer and a search marketer (SEO PPC) focusing on developing and marketing Yahoo! Stores. I spend ~$10,000 a month on Adwords (across several different projects) and have had a pretty healthy ROI for the past 2 years or so. I also spend less than 5% of my time creating and managing GAW campaigns because I have so much other stuff to do!
Okay. I tried Google Adwords several times in 2003 with no real success. I almost gave up before I found his site and bought the first edition of his e-Book "21 Ways to Maximize ROI on Google AdWords Select" way back in 2003. Ever since then I've been reading his stuff including his Web site (page-zero.com), his e-mail newsletters (long!), and his posts in online forums. If you've read his earlier stuff, you'll recognize a lot of the strategies in this book, but I think longtime readers can benefit from reading this, too. Andrew refines a lot of his original ideas while introducing some new concepts.
Want some real world examples? I used a couple of ideas from Andrew's books to tweak my Adwords campaigns to save over $13,000 .00 last year on a single project. And these were keywords where I was paying anywhere from a nickel to 18-cents a click. Talk about death by a thousand cuts!
I was able to tighten up underperforming keywords in a single Adwords campaign to save ~$5,679. I'll also saved ~$8,234 on non-performing keywords. It took about an hour the first time, and now I get these regular monthly reports to help me trim the fat.
Long story short, buy this book if you want your advertising to make money.
-- Rob Snell
Increasing conversion rate: your tips POST: markbaa Junior Member "So, as per my recent post I've recently made a venture into ecommerce (after managing non-ecommerce sites for many years). It seems to have settled down a bit and am averaging about 1% conversion, which seems to be roughly standard (which I'm happy about for a brand new shop!). Getting more traffic is one issue, but I was wondering what people can suggest about increasing conversion? Share any tips you've learnt over the years."
This is a great thread with tons of info on increasing conversion rate. Note to self: steal more great ideas... -- Rob
"Chances are that you won't see the real time link in your Store Manager, but if you have a legacy Yahoo Store or a new Merchant Enhanced or Premium account you can enable this feature for free. If you have a Merchant Intro account you cannot get this feature."
Mike's got a great post on his Yahoo! Store Blog about the real time link which posts order data via XML (or another format) to a secure server. It looks like the XML data has some referrer data worth looking at, but no Rev-Share Url. Come ON Y!people!
"In fact it turned out that Web consultants didn't like Viaweb.
Consultants, as a general rule, like to use products that are too
hard for their clients to use, because it guarantees them ongoing
employment. Consultants would come to our Web site, which said
all over it that our software was so easy to use that it would let
anyone make an online store in five minutes, and they'd say, there's
no way we're using that. So we didn't get a lot of interest from
Web consultants. Instead the users all tended to be end-users,
the actual merchants themselves. They loved the idea of being in
control of their own Web sites. And this kind of user did not want
to do any kind of programming. They just used the default templates."
-- Paul Graham
How's your summer going? I'm working on my Yahoo! Store book for the DUMMIES folks, and it hits me: You guys could do a few simple things to make the Yahoo! Store product so much easier for retailers to get started selling stuff!
I've been living with the Store Editor since the Viaweb days. A few simple changes could DRASTICALLY decrease the Merchant Solutions churn rate by getting retailers out of the store design business and into the selling the merchandise business.
JUMP-START THAT SHOPPING CART!
1) Bring back the Viaweb tour on how STORE EDITOR works.
- That tour was the best way to force new retailers to learn basic Store Editor functionality.
2) Let me choose EDITOR or TAGS
- Give each choice a separate looking STORE MANAGER page.
- Have a switch on the MANAGER so I can select STORE EDITOR or STORE TAGS and make all the non-relevant links in the MANAGER disappear.
3) Change the default ORDER-TEXT from "order" to "add to cart."
- That alone should increase sales to keep a lot of marginal retailers afloat as well as give a HUGE boost to rev-share income for YSB. Take 10% of that increase and give it back to retailers in terms of marketing help or an annual Yahoo Store Convention or support the developer base.
4) Provide VARIABLE Recipes.
- I would love to see something in Store Editor like the LOOK AND LAYOUT functionality that allowed a new store owner to select one of three pre-made VARIABLES recipes (for lack of a better word): TOP BUTTON store, SIDE-BUTTON store, and NO-NAV store. It would be nice if it saved the original VARIABLES data somewhere so folks could go back to whatever they had before they ran the RECIPES.
- If it couldn't be hard-wired into Store, then just link to a simple Y!Store recipe card with the Variable parameters on it.
5) Same thing for HOME PAGES.
There are 4 or 5 cool things you can do with different configurations of the "HOME." template. Show retailers that!
6) Pre-populate STORE w/ sample products and sections
I would also like to see the Editor come pre-loaded with 6 additional objects: Section1, Section2, and Section3 and Product1, Product2, and Product3.
Each of these could be like my samples on http://www.ystorebooks.com. Put the sections in the CONTENTS of the home page. Put the products as SPECIALS on the home page. Have all the fields contain sample text so retailers can see what they can do in CATALOG MANAGER and STORE EDITOR.
7) Provide retailers with sample images.
Real images on real products and section will show retailers what they can do. Each of the SECTIONS and PRODUCTS could also have an IMAGE, an ICON, and an INSET pre-loaded. Maybe include a sample NAME-IMAGE?
8) Poor Man's RTML.
- Add 2 big-text fields to VARIABLES called TOP and BOTTOM . Call them at the top and bottom inside the body tag of the "page." template where folks could put their fancy html code. It would allow for super-easy CART customization, too.
Uh, that's it off the top of my head. Actually, Yahoo!, please don't do any of this because flustered retailers have buy my book and hire store designers and consultants. I'm tired of calls from retailers who can sell hundreds of thousands of dollars of products in the real world but who can't figure out how to get a basic store set-up and running. I want the fun calls! I want more of the "how do I go from $500K to $5MM" guys!
Look. Make it easy and 7 out of 8 online stores will be hosted by Yahoo! Small Business.
You know I love you guys!
-- Rob Snell
P.S. See y'all in August!
My good friend Brian Evans just started his blog on growing tomatoes. He's going to go into waaaaaaaaaay more detail about the subject than I would ever read, but there are 300 people a day searching for the phrase, "growing tomatoes." Me? I just like eating tomatoes.
This has also nothing to do with Making More With a Yahoo! Store, but it is a good chance for me to do some keyword research while I wait on lunch. The fine folks at Google may have the Grateful Dead's chef slinging hash in Mountainview, CA, but here at Snell Brothers we have Johnny Wishbone.
Every Friday we open up the warehouse doors and fire up the grills. Johnny has a secret marinade for his burgers and steaks. It smells good, it tastes really good, but you never want to ask for his recipe. Since the Yahoo! Store broke a record, Steve's buying steaks.
Okay. Back to tomatoes.
I searched on Yahoo! for the phrase "growing tomatoes."
Yahoo! suggests additional searches under The refine search gave me these more defined searches under ALSO TRY:
Also try: growing tomatoes indoors, growing tomatoes upside down,
growing cherry tomatoes, growing tomatoes from seed, growing grape tomatoes, growing roma tomatoes, growing big tomatoes, growing tomatoes forum, growing tomatoes in a container, growing tomatoes in oklahoma, growing giant tomatoes
Okay. Next I go to Teoma and search for growing tomatoes. Teoma has this cool feature on the right-hand side of the screen called Refinements. I click on "SHOW ALL REFINEMENTS and get these additional keywords:
Home Garden Growing
Garden Growing Tomatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes Seeds
and about 10 more...
Teoma also has a list of authority sites called Resources. Brian would do well to link out to all of these guys, especially specific articles that would be of interest to his readers, Yahoo! Store owners or not:
Check out my friend Doug's Home Theater Buyer's Guide and blog. Go, Doug, go!
Doug writes about buying a grill and why you should have an expert at your fingertips before buying anything you really don't know anything about.