6 Effective E-Commerce Platforms For Small Business in 2022

6 effective e-commerce platforms for small business in 2022

Let’s say that you somehow have made or procured a time machine. You take a seat, push the lever, and off you go to the 1960s! Of course, you’ll see many exciting things, but one of those will be how businesses functioned back then.

Shop owners had to open physical shops located at a specific place, and, and did a substantial amount of investment for building the stores even before any sale occurred. It was indeed very tough back then!

Having seen enough, you decide to come back to your timeline and do a comparative study. When it comes to physical shops, you’ll know that we still have them. In fact, despite flourishing online stores, millions of small traders and merchants still have physical shops. While there is no accurate and authentically available data, the number of physical stores worldwide is undoubtedly more than that of its online cousins.

Realities are transforming fast. The advent of, and constant evolution of, the internet has given rise to a new and exciting industry: e-commerce. It is an industry that rewards creativity, passion and entrepreneurship. Now, anyone can start their own company by launching a company website and selling goods and services. Such companies are location-independent, and there are no worries about physical footfall.  

Let’s say that you’re an entrepreneur and have something to offer to customers. An online store is a viable option but it comes with certain costs. You cannot just create a website anywhere. Even though there are free websites, those are not good ideas for a business. You must consider a few things like hosting, domain name, SSL certificate, etc. Over the years, e-commerce stores have become virtual platforms for merchants, entrepreneurs and other business owners.

What is an e-commerce store?

6 effective e-commerce platforms
image source: https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com

E-commerce stores are websites that enable people to purchase goods and services from their comfort zones. Through such stories, you can accept and process orders, accept payments, manage shipping, transportation and logistics, and provide customer service in a completely regulated environment.

The scene today

Thanks to e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Wix and Square Online, business owners can now operate conveniently in the digital space and make the most. 

The only problem?

Selling online is cost-effective, thus popular and efficient to sell more and generate more revenue. It simplified business, but that also means there’s a lot more competition. Now anyone can have their -Commerce store and get a piece of the proverbial pie. Many online platforms multiplied, each claiming to be the best e-commerce platform.

It creates yet another issue.

Small business owners are spoilt for choice when it comes to e-commerce platforms. Which one should they choose? 

Here’s how to Choose The Best E-commerce Platform for your online shop

6 effective e-commerce platforms
Image source: Statista

Choosing an e-commerce platform that suits your business is like choosing the postal address of your physical store. There are several points to consider, like its reputation, the support that it can provide and a few more.

Often we mistake following fellow ventures and their strategies, while businesses can be similar but never the same. The requirements of your competitor’s store might not be the same as yours. For instance, a company may need a user-friendly open-source website where one can experiment with inventory management systems, various web hosting and abandoned cart recovery, and more.

Others may desire a service which holds their hand throughout the journey. Open source platforms may not be suitable for all companies. Hosted solutions are better for beginners since they are user-friendly and come with various tools and features. 

To help you pick the best e-Commerce platforms for your company, here’s a list of popular e-commerce platforms for small businesses.

6 popular e-commerce platforms for small business


6 effective e-commerce platforms

Shopify is as revered an e-commerce brand as AliExpress is for dropshipping. Shopify offers you some of the best sales features you can find, including powerful tools and a famous app market full of plugins.

If you’re serious about selling online and business growth, Shopify won’t let you down. It offers SaaS to customers and is specially designed for those serious about building their online store. With multiple advanced sales and site management tools, access to discount codes, 24/7 customer service, an integrated payment processor, and free SSL security certificate, Shopify leaves no stone unturned in delighting its customers. Optionally, you can also access new sales strategies.

Pricing: The introductory price is $29 per month.



  • 14-Day Free trial
  • Many plugins to pick
  • Integrated payment gateways
  • Unlimited products on every plan
  • Suitable for all kinds of businesses
  • Wide range of themes to choose from


  • Minimal blogging platform
  • Fees can add up fast if you choose additional features and services.

Square Online


6 effective e-commerce platforms

Square Online can be the perfect solution if you’re looking for a platform to combine both online selling strategies with offline sales. This website-building service is brought to you by Square and you can get your website here for free if you have a Square Point of Sale System. 

Weebly powers Square Online. Is that good?

Yes and No. Let us explain.

Weebly is known for its limited customization options, which means you’ll face the same on Square Online. The brighter side is that Weebly is perfect for beginners. Building a website here is a no-brainer. You can have your website up and running. Your website can get ready in just a few hours! You’ll also have access to advanced inventory management functions, thanks to your access to the Square Point of Sale System. How does that benefit you? Well, let’s say that when someone purchases from your website, your inventory will get updated as well.

Thanks to its integrated and advanced AI, Square Online’s advanced features and benefits are there.. It allows customers to enjoy a better experience without spending a lot on each service separately. The same AI makes adding products and features to your e-commerce store a breeze. 

Pricing: Square Online gives you both monthly and yearly payment options. You can save between 25% and 30% if you pay early. 



  • Fantastic for AI design
  • One of the best choices for beginners
  • Enviable inventory management tools
  • Combines the benefits of both online and offline selling
  • Excellent deal if you’re already using the Square ecosystem’s features


  • Limitations in customization, especially with shop checkout
  • Don’t have many choices in payment processing options.

Wix E-commerce 

6 effective e-commerce platforms

Wix can be ideal for you if you value both money and performance for your e-commerce store. It delivers exceptional performance and is not unkind to website creator newbies either. Wix gives you total control over your store, tons of exciting features, hundreds of website templates, a range of payment systems, a secure checkout process, a drag-and-drop site builder, and an agile design. 

When it comes to online stores, the presentation of products and proper showcasing of product galleries are essential. It is where Wix shines. Thanks to its comprehensive store management tools collection, you can now create stunning product galleries. 

Another feature that customers love about Wix sites is that it gives you the option to calculate global tax and shipping on the back-end too. 

You won’t find as many shopping features here as you can get on Shopify, but remember, Wix is not primarily an e-commerce website builder. 

Wix may not have the most advanced tools on the market, but it makes e-commerce site building very easy, making it perfect for beginners.




  • Multiple secured payment options
  • Large selection of plugins and apps
  • An exciting range of quality themes
  • Plenty of discount options and coupons available


  • No data export option
  • Limited e-commerce features
  • Difficult to add extra functions since it’s not open-source


6 effective e-commerce platforms

For those who want creative control more than other benefits, Squarespace can be a perfect choice. Squarespace is a cloud-hosted website builder and it has a similar style to Wix and provides you with some advanced marketing tools like quick integration with social media channels. 

Squarespace is excellent in providing gorgeous online business and portfolio websites, but not so much in offering e-commerce features compared with industry giants like Shopify. However, you get an SSL certificate and a free domain if you pick their annual plan. Regardless of your plan, you get an agile and responsive checkout with zero transaction fees.




  • Budget-friendly plans
  • Multiple templates to choose from
  • Above-average social media integration
  • Free domain when you choose annual plans
  • Great for those who require 24/7 customer support


  • No app market
  • Large transaction fees
  • Limited payment options for you


6 effective e-commerce platforms

Weebly is a young company in this industry yet famous, especially among small business owners. It’s excellent for beginners as you need neither tech talent nor too much time to get started, and it is easy on your pocket.

The downside?

Weebly lacks some features which you’ll find with its competitors. For instance, you can’t sell across various channels like Facebook and Etsy. Another issue, which may put off some serious e-commerce website building purists, is the matter of website customization. On Weebly, website customization is noticeably more complex. 

The good thing is you’ll get fantastic benefits like blogging and password-protected pages. 

Weebly can be the perfect solution if you’re starting out with a few products. You can always move out to its competitors when your online shows scale up. 

Pricing: Weebly has price tiers for those who need just a website, and for those looking to build an online store. 



  • Beginner-friendly and easy to use
  • Lots of responsive themes
  • Wide selection of integrated apps
  • Team collaboration and membership areas
  • Very affordable prices


  • Limited design options
  • Not ideal for international websites


6 effective e-commerce platforms

Ecwid is ideal for companies that want to integrate their business website, social media network and business page. You can also sync and manage your storefronts through Ecwid.

Ecwid is a popular solution as it is a cloud-based platform, which means you don’t need to download or install anything. If you have a company website, you can add Ecwid with a plugin such as WordPress, Wix, Joomla and Drupal. You can enjoy a good number of services and benefits essential for a serious e-commerce website owner. These benefits include: 

  • responsive design
  • automatic language detection

Ecwid also allows you to add your site to multiple sites, social networks and blogs and lets you pick from a collection of online payment processes. 

Prices: There is an annual and a monthly payment tier, with a free plan in both. You save 17% when you choose the yearly payment plans.



  • Works with existing websites
  • Free plan in both monthly and yearly tiers
  • Reasonable premium plans
  • Ability to sell on social sites and marketplaces 
  • Ability to create a mobile app for app stores
  • Automatic language detection
  • Multiple secure payment gateways


  • High integrated payment fees 
  • It is not a standalone solution or e-commerce (you’ll still need a website)
  • No customer support on lower-price tiers
  • Back-end stats are not comprehensive

To Sum Up

6 effective e-commerce platforms
Image source: https://everydaypower.com

So there you have it! 6 effective e-commerce platforms for small businesses. There are pros and cons to all these solutions, so you have to consider them well before choosing one. Fortunately, we have given you the best e-commerce website building solutions on one page. These platforms offer you a free trial option before investing a dime; you can pay with either a debit or credit card. We hope you benefit from that and discover which platform will suit you best. 

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How to build an eCommerce website that ranks above your competitors

The E-commerce industry is on the rise. 

As more people get access to the internet each year, sales in e-commerce are indeed rising proportionately. In 2020, more than 2 billion people had purchased goods and services online. In the same year, sales were more than USD 4.2 trillion globally.

How to build an eCommerce website that ranks above your competitors

While the pandemic affected most other industries adversely, the global e-commerce industry grew by more than 25%.

How to build an eCommerce website that ranks above your competitors

Is it any wonder that more and more people are opening their e-commerce stores now? Yes, it can be risky, but the potential rewards are great as well. What separates a successful e-commerce store from an unsuccessful one?  Just a few minor details!

You may be offering a good product, but if a crucial step of building the website is missing, the whole business will suffer. 

In this article, we will tell you how to build a successful e-commerce store.
Let us get started.

How to build an e-commerce website that beats your competitors


Here are the steps you need to follow to create such a site. Your website will not just look great but also do your selling while you sleep. 

Here are the nine simple steps.

1. Choose a website builder specializing in e-commerce: You may want to look at several such websites. These include WordPress.com and Wix.com. While WordPress has always been at the top of the list, Wix has never been far behind. Both of these make creating e-commerce sites very easy. Website building on WordPress can be technical for you, while doing the same on Wix may prove to be easier. Wix makes it a lot easier, but WordPress does give you more SEO benefits.

2. Buy a proper domain name from a well-known domain registration company: When you’re taking your business online, domain name matters. Domain names typically reflect a brand, services, products, ideas, etc. There are hundreds of domain registration companies, but we recommend GoDaddy.com and BlueHost.com.

3. Choose an e-commerce template: Now that you have picked your website builder and your domain name, it is time to choose an e-commerce template. Website builders have many such templates ready for you so that you can start right away. It may happen that these templates may not be suitable for your purposes. That’s all right. You can always create your website’s structure yourself. Yes, it may take time but it can be an alternative if you want to save costs when starting out.

4. Personalize your chosen template: Whether you have picked a website template or have built a custom template, you may now want to personalize and brand the site. This is important to make your website stand out. For inspiration, check out your competitors’ websites. Are they missing anything? What have they done well? Can you use it too?

5. Add your products to the site: Now is the time to showcase your products. Remember, your customers won’t be able to check your products physically. To offset this problem, their pictures need to be both appealing and instructive. Photos, and even videos when required, need to be of high quality. All products should have an attractive description which both informs and allures. Additionally, photos and videos need to be mobile-friendly since most of your customers may be browsing your site from mobile devices. 

6. Configure your payment options: Most e-commerce and online store sites have a PayPal gateway as a payment option due to its popularity. However, try to give your customers other options too. You may want to provide options like Cash on Delivery, EMI payment, payment by debit and credit cards, payment by Netbanking, and so on.

7. Check your shipping settings: Shipping information has to be completely transparent. After all, your customer will want to know when their purchases will be arriving. If there is a shipping fee involved, break down the whole cost. Customers pay more attention to the shipping cost and time. Tell them within how many days they’ll receive their purchases, and what to do in case of any problems.

8. Don’t forget SEO: After making the site live, don’t forget SEO. But before going for expensive SEO tools, ask yourself these. Where do you want to stand in the competition? How do you wish to position your site in relation to your competitors when it comes to keywords? Having a robust SEO strategy makes your brand name memorable and your website a success.

9. Preview. Test. Improve. Repeat: Once your e-commerce site is live, it will not be the end of your work. You, or your team, will still need to keep testing. Are all its functions working perfectly? Are your customers facing any problems when browsing the site? Most people make their site live only after this step!

Here are the nine tips you need for a successful e-commerce website. But there are still a few more!ecommerce

1. When choosing a web hosting service, don’t go for the cheapest. Yes, you may save money, but the service quality may not be satisfactory. Since you are starting a business, you may want to pick the best hosting service.

2. Have a search bar on your site. It allows viewers to search with ease.

3. Let customers buy as guests if they want. Some people do not have the time nor inclination to register.

4. Set up abandoned shopping cart reminder emails for your customers. This significantly drops the abandoned cart percentage.

To Sum Up

A business in the e-commerce industry can be advantageous, but the risks are real too. That is why you need to have a game plan from the get-go. And now, you know How to build an e-commerce website to outrank your competitors.

Marketing Disasters and How To Avoid Having One

marketing disaster

Marketing campaigns are part of everyone’s lives. From the massive giants like Apple promoting their latest iPhones to an online entrepreneur asking you for 35 seconds of your time to promote his online investment course, marketing campaigns are omnipresent.

They are vital for the business’s survival regardless of its size. Companies pour millions of dollars every year to devise a strategy that effectively targets their consumer group and stands out from their competitors. 

Creativity is an absolute must, and year on year, businesses try and outdo one another by trying something different. An example of a job well done would be Coca-Cola’s Christmas ad in 2020, a heartwarming and emotional masterpiece that was perfectly executed.

However, this is easier said than done. Even multinational corporations with budgets in the many millions have dropped the ball. Sometimes, ideas that are so sinister and egregious have escaped rigorous testing and been approved to be shown to the public.

Why do marketing campaigns fail?

Frankly, marketers lose track of who they are advertising to. When the goal is purely to be creative or unique rather than target the consumer base, mistakes are made. 

Of course, standing out from the rest is vital in creating a good marketing campaign. However, there is a line in the sand; when being ostentatious is over prioritized, and the target audience is estranged. 

A marketing campaign’s primary goal is to inform potential customers what needs of theirs the company’s service or product can fulfill, why the company can do it better than its competitors, and share its type and brand.

When the campaign forgets about this premise, disasters are bound to happen

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the most significant advertisement flops to date and see how to avoid making the same errors in the future.

Beware: Laughably Terrible Advertisement Campaigns Ahead

Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi Debacle

Kendall Jenner's Pepsi Debacle

This is an iconic and infamous advertisement. Pepsi launched a two and half minute advertisement called “Live for Now”. The advert featured 21-year-old supermodel Kendall Jenner leaving a photoshoot and showing up at a protest. 

Tensions were growing between police and protestors until she stepped up to offer an officer a can of Pepsi. This fixed the issue. 

The advertisement was branded as “tone-deaf”, and the backlash overgrew, forcing Pepsi to back down and pull the spot and issue an apology.

Dove’s blatantly racist Facebook Advertisement

dove racist Ad campaign

Dove launched a Facebook ad campaign of the above four images. The four-panel image shows a young African American woman removing her shirt. By the time she has done, she has turned into a young white lady.

The disastrous advertisement shows up on Google as “Dove’s Racist Ad”.

To make matters worse, this was the second terrible advertising campaign launched by Dove in 2017, with them having to issue another apology after receiving intense criticism on social media as well as bad reviews on their product.

Volkswagen lies again?

An ongoing disaster, Volkswagen had decided to play a prank for April Fools this year. Volkswagen America changed its name to “Voltswagen”, implying that it sells electric vehicles.

Not too long ago, Volkswagen was caught in the carbon emission scandal; they lied about how much carbon their diesel cars emitted. 

Now, this publicity stunt seems like they are lying about producing electric vehicles. Moreover, VW lied to reporters in a situation where simply saying “no comment” would have been sufficient. 

Now, talks of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cracking down on them, and it looks like Volkswagen is April’s fool.

Wix Slaps Itself

Wix recently launched an attack ad campaign against its competitor, WordPress. This advert portrayed WordPress in an extremely negative light in the context of a web developer seeking help for a mental health crisis. 

Almost instantly, Wix received backlash for their distasteful and insensitive ad. With so many people around the world suffering from mental health issues, especially due to the ongoing pandemic, it seemed like a very poor decision by Wix to greenlight a campaign like this. 

This ad campaign has received and is continuing to receive a lot of criticism over social media and is sure to be one that Wix regrets.

How to Avoid Marketing Disasters

Let’s find some nuggets of wisdom from the abysmal foolishness above and learn how NOT to make these mistakes.

Don’t ever lose touch

As you can see above, Pepsi lost touch with its audience. They came across as tone-deaf. Remember to consider the implications of the marketing campaign. Even when making jokes, remember that to take into consideration other perspectives and angles.

By sacrificing your brand value for a few jokes, you may risk offending your audience. Insensitivity and tastelessness can quickly alienate the audience and result in a marketing disaster.

Keep current affairs in mind

Marketing campaigns take a long time to plan and execute. They require extensive testing, planning, and, for larger companies, a lot of red tapes. This makes it easy to overlook what is ongoing in the real world. 

A campaign that may have been acceptable a few months ago may no longer be so. If the marketing campaign aims to educate consumers about a situation, it needs to understand the issue and its implications genuinely.

Constantly review the campaign and ensure that it is up to date with current events.

How to create a good marketing campaign

If you are running your own business or part of a giant corporation, you understand the need for marketing. It can be an absolute nightmare to navigate the inner working of creating a successful campaign. What would help alleviate this would be someone who could take this burden off your hands.

MIU offers a range of marketing services that will help your company successfully launch and maintain a marketing campaign. With experience and skills, the disasters mentioned above can be avoided with our help. 

Feel free to contact us for a free digital audit or check out MIU’s website to learn more about how we can help you.


Lazada SG Celebrates Its 9th Birthday With Katy Perry, NCT Dream, and More

Lazada is known for having big discounts and huge sales on its site, so it’s no surprise that they are hosting a massive event for their 9th birthday this coming weekend.

Known as Lazada Super Party, this event includes a virtual concert, flash sales, surprise boxes, games, and more. The full performance lineup can be viewed here, although Lazada has already teased us with a few names.

Headlined by Katy Perry and NCT Dream, other local artists such as Jasmine Sokko and Nathan Hortono will also be performing for the virtual concert.

On 26 March at 9:30 pm, Lazada will be streaming this virtual concert via LazLive to countdown to its official birthday which falls on 27 March.

Michelle Chong, Michelle Chong, Michelle Chong, Lee Min-ho are posing for a picture: Lazada Celebrates Its 9th Birthday Sale With A Virtual Concert, Games, Flash Deals, Vouchers

In fact, Lazada will be streaming live performances of various K-Pop idols every Saturday at 8 pm for seven consecutive weeks, starting 20 March. Viewers will be able to partake in games and other giveaways for a chance to win a prize!

Beyond these live streams and performances, Lazada has organised a bunch of pre-sale activities to keep us interested in grabbing ridiculous deals off their site. Before the big day, participate in as many games and activities as you can to obtain vouchers, free shipping, LazCoins and more. These will definitely come in handy during the two-hour storewide flash sale from 12 to 2 am on 27 March!

More than 200 stores are involved in the celebration of Lazada’s 9th birthday, offering more up to a whopping 90% discount on some of their products! The list of participating stores can be found here.

Lazada is definitely going all out for their birthday celebration this year. Indeed, the blend of international celebrities from Katy Perry to NCT Dream to local singers is bound to draw a huge crowd to join in on their festivities.

If you want to find out more about the new marketing strategy, Contact Us.

ECommerce Platforms: WooCommerce vs Shopify vs Magento

For most businesses, an eCommerce platform is one of the best things you can do for your brand. After all, the move to the digital sphere is happening rapidly, particularly in recent years. Maintaining an online presence is the best way to have a global reach.

However, many small businesses looking to start their eCommerce store might find this step a little confusing, not to mention intimidating. Just look at it — there are so many options out there! How would anyone know which is the best option for their brand?

The eCommerce platforms available may seem a little daunting at first, but get to know them a bit more, and you’ll realise how straightforward everything is. WooCommerce, Shopify and Magento are the three most prominent platforms in the eCommerce industry, holding more than 50% of the market share combined. In this article, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of these three major eCommerce platforms to help you decide which you should use.

  • WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that brands can use if they have a registered domain for a WordPress website. WordPress is a standard content management system that many brands use. WooCommerce is a popular choice due to its ease of use. The best part is, it’s free!

With roughly 25% of the market share, WooCommerce is used by nearly 3 million sites to date. Although domain name and hosting are not included, this eCommerce platform allows brands to have an unlimited store size and unlimited orders and sales. If you want your own domain name, however, additional investment is required.

Additionally, brands would need to obtain their own Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, a global standard security technology that enables encrypted information between a web browser and a web server. This decreases the risk of sensitive information being stolen or hacked. WooCommerce supports SSL but does not provide an individual certificate for brands.

There are plenty of extensions and themes you can choose from when using WooCommerce. This allows you some flexibility in your online shop, most of which would be required if you want a functioning store. Of course, keep in mind that some of these extensions and themes are premium and might require payment.

The good thing about WooCommerce is that it has integrated Google Analytics. This means that you’ll keep track of the popular items, which are being dropped, bounce rates, clickthrough rates, and more. Since it is free, WooCommerce is perfect for businesses who are tight with their budget or are just dipping their toes into eCommerce.

  • Shopify

Easily described as the upgraded version of WooCommerce, Shopify offers a few functions and features that are comparable to, if not better, than WooCommerce. However, the downside to Shopify is that it is not free.

The monthly subscription starts from $29 onwards, which allows you a free myshopify.com domain. Alternatively, you can also use your custom domain name. Even though Shopify runs on a monthly subscription, it has over nearly a million users and takes up 20% of the market share.

With Shopify’s high quality hosting services, you do not have to worry about finding a hosting provider or installing any other software since it is all included. This includes unlimited bandwidth, automatic site backups, and more. They also help update and maintain the underlying software for businesses, whereas both WooCommerce and Magento do not.

Since Shopify is a hosted solution, brands would not be able to access the underlying software, unlike when using WooCommerce or Magento. This means that you would most likely not be able to customise your server the way you want it to.

As with WooCommerce, Shopify does some free extensions, although most of them are premium. Additionally, all themes are also premium, so keep that in mind if you want to change your shop interface. Last but not least, Shopify comes with an SSL certificate which is included in their plans.

Shopify is used by the likes of Sephora, Budweiser, Nestle, Tesla, and more. If you want an uncomplicated setup process but desire premium support, this would be an excellent option for you. Even without much technical knowledge, one can easily handle and learn how to get their online store up and run with Shopify.

  • Magento

Magento is adopted by 250,000 websites worldwide and holds a 10% share in the market as a corporate-level eCommerce platform. Although it seems like a minor player out of the three, do not underestimate this eCommerce platform! Just because it is a niche does not mean it is not as valuable.

In fact, with both free and premium options, Magento offers plenty of support for businesses wanting to start an enterprise-level online store. While the free community version requires you to get a domain name and hosting on your own, the premium version does not.

Again, there are limited extensions and themes that Magento offers for free. Most of the better ones are premium, which means you would need to fork out some money to obtain them. However, Magento has advanced security and updates.

Since it is the most advanced version of the three, it is only natural to wonder what other features they offer. For one, their inventory management system allows them to sync the warehouse stock with the online shop. They also support multiple languages and currencies, which comes in handy for a global business. For a complete list of Magento functions that they offer, visit this link.

With an in-built SEO package and analytic system, Magento is undoubtedly a high-end eCommerce platform highly recommended for established brands or brands looking to branch out. Magento is used by the likes of Nike, Ford, and Christian Louboutin. Remember that there is a steep learning curve for this, as it is more geared towards developers and web development professionals!

All in all, WooCommerce is beginner-friendly and wallet-friendly, whilst Shopify is great for those who want to relinquish control. On the other hand, Magento is perfect for large brands that have the following to back them up. Ultimately, it would be best if you determined which eCommerce platform is best for your business. After all, you know your brand best!

3 Instagram Tools

Ecommerce has been on the rise, and we can blame Covid-19 for that, but this trend has been around since even before the pandemic. Brands and businesses have all turned to list their products online to reach a wider group of consumers that traditional sales would not be able to.

With the advent of social media, these platforms have found a way to capitalise on their influence. Having a designated area where businesses can directly sell their products benefits the brands themselves and makes it more convenient for consumers to find what they want.

Indeed, eCommerce is taking over everywhere — including social media, and it’s time we took a look at just how vital this wave is.

Speaking of social media, of course, one of the most popular and most used platforms is Instagram itself. In fact, they are amongst the top 5 most used social media apps in January 2020, based on the number of active users. There is no doubt that Instagram has, in recent years, devised ways to help brands boost their visibility on their platform. This includes the addition of eCommerce functions, which we will be explaining in detail below.

  • Instagram Checkout

3 Instagram Shopping Tools blog image 1.jpg

One of Instagram’s special functions is its shoppable posts or purchasable messages, where you could put a link to a product on a platform outside of Instagram. Users will then be directed to an eCommerce site where they can place their orders.

Instagram Checkout, on the other hand, takes that experience to another level. Instead of redirecting visitors to an external platform, Instagram now has a new function where users can make payment directly from the social media app itself. This may very well appeal to users who want to stay on Instagram and make a hassle-free payment.

  • Instagram Live Shopping

3 Instagram Shopping Tools blog image 2.jpg

Like Instagram Checkout, Instagram Live Shopping allows users to purchase products directly from the app itself, but in a live stream situation. At the bottom of a live Instagram feed, owners can add a small CTA to nudge viewers to the products. This is great for when you want to or will advertise a said product in your live stream.

Viewers who click on the CTA can have two options — either to add the product to the cart for later so they can continue watching your stream or head to pay immediately. From there on, viewers can use Instagram Checkout to buy your products directly on Instagram itself. This way, you don’t have to be worried that you’ll be losing viewers unnecessarily.

  • Facebook Stores

3 Instagram Shopping Tools blog image 3.jpg

You might be thinking, what do Facebook stores have to do with Instagram? Well, keep in mind that Facebook owns Instagram, and therefore many of its features are interlinked. Although Facebook launched Facebook Store for Facebook, it can be used for Instagram as well.

Your Instagram followers no need to create a Facebook account to interact with your Facebook store. This means that you can link your Facebook business page to other social media, including Instagram, Whatsapp, and Messenger — all of Facebook’s owned apps.

Once a store is created on Facebook, business owners can go to their Instagram profile and directly link their Facebook store. Visitors can browse products on Instagram without ever having to leave the app or create a Facebook account!

Facebook Store is an advantageous option for small businesses who can’t build an entire eCommerce website from scratch. This may be due to a lack of workforce, time, finances, or bandwidth. Instead of doing so, these businesses can turn to Facebook Stores to create eCommerce options on various social media platforms. Oberlo has a guide as to how one can set up an Instagram shop. If you do want to start an eCommerce store, Shopify or Magento is an excellent first step.

Shopping is a compelling feature on Instagram for brands, and it is likely to be even more developed in the future. Over 60% of users say they discover new products on Instagram, and more than 200 million people visit at least one business profile on Instagram daily.

Indeed, Instagram Shopping can offer so many benefits for businesses. Not only does it help to promote your products and increase sales rates, but the shopping experience for users is now more personalised as well.

The kind of products that are suggested to users on Instagram is often customised to suit each person based on what they have searched for and their other interactions on the app. This means that these products are most likely what the user would be interested in or care about. Users can even save a product and come back to it later by tapping the Label icon on a product page or a product list.

Overall, as more than 90% of Instagram accounts follow at least one other business account, Instagram is a great place to start marketing your brand. Not to mention that one-third of the most viewed Instagram stories come from businesses themselves! With more than 1 billion active users on the app, these numbers do hold some serious weight. So why not start putting these Instagram shopping tools to fair use?

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    E-Commerce Packaging: the Ins and Outs

    E-Commerce Packaging: the Ins and Outs

    When it comes to packaging design for online products, there are many factors that come into consideration. Beyond just making your product attractive, issues regarding eCommerce packaging have also been raised.

    Ecommerce, or electronic commerce, is the buying and selling of products on an online store. The question comes in when considering how to design a product to stand out of the proverbial crowd, especially in an online setting.

    With a huge majority of consumers turning towards online shopping in 2020, there is no doubt that the shopping experience has changed drastically. This change in consumer experience signifies huge implications for shopping design. As a result, it is important for marketers to learn how to better advertise their products on the virtual shelf.

    This not only applies to products but services as well. Online retailing has taken the world by storm especially with the onset of Covid-19. Even as the situation stabilises, it is clear eCommerce platforms are not going away anytime soon, if at all.

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    We’ve talked about how important packaging is for a brand and the best steps to design an impactful packaging to grab your consumers’ attention in a brick-and-mortar store. But consider this: how does designing a product differ when it comes to doing it for an eCommerce store as compared to physical stores?

    Well, since you are designing products to showcase on a digital platform, there are factors present that would not otherwise be considered for a physical setting. Research has shown that the online customer experience is more than just conveying product information — it must also mimic the sensory experiences that products evoke in the offline world. It is important to keep this in mind when creating your packaging so as to successfully draw in consumers in your e-commerce journey.

    Factors to consider in an online packaging design

    1. The product packaging must be photogenic

    It goes without saying that you would be taking a photo of your product or service in order to promote it in online stores. If you want to appeal to your consumers with your product, you need to make sure it stands out, is attractive, and captures well on photos.

    What usually works for the screen are often graphics that pop. In fact, graphics appeal to both the older and younger demographic. Older consumers with vision problems appreciate the clear visuals, and younger consumers think graphics look cool. Use it to further enhance your product design and draw in a larger online crowd. With emotional appeal in mind — think about what makes a product design feel personal and welcoming on the screen.

    2. It must have an idiosyncratic point

    eCommerce Packaging Design Festina Watches in Bags of Water

    It’s easy to go with the flow and design a packaging that has worked for millions of other products. But consumers online are no longer interested in the same thing. They want to see something different — unusual, even — that firmly grabs their attention and holds it. What has worked for brands in the virtual sphere are their unique shelf designs. So, embrace your weirdness and get creative!

    Take a look at the packaging for the Festina Divers Watch. By encasing their watches in a bag of water, they are conveying the message that their watches are completely and utterly waterproof. This is a great example of an extremely memorable and innovative packaging. Consumers are sure to remember it for some time to come.

    3. It must go well with the eCommerce site

    You may not realise this, but it is not enough to just have a strategic packaging for your product. Consider how it looks when placed on the eCommerce website. Does it blend well with the web design, or does it clash? No matter how amazing your packaging is, that can come to nought if it does not go together with your website design — which will turn consumers away.

    Minimalism and white space are all the trend right now. Consumers prefer a clean, simple look rather than a cluttered design with unnecessarily complicated fonts. They want to be able to tell at one glance the brand, the logo, and the product offered, rather than having to scan through plenty of labels just to find out the information.

    The rise of eCommerce

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    As more online businesses spring up, the consumer shopping experience shifts bit by bit. This presents businesses with plenty of opportunities to get creative and adapt to the new situation. Instead of continuing what has always worked, it should be time to rethink and develop new ideas to grow alongside such changes.

    Design evaluation is but an example. The shift online allows businesses to experiment with the virtual space, and how it interacts amongst different cultural, social and retail contexts. Perhaps with this shift, it is time to set new KPIs for design — one that succeeds by being quirky and idiosyncratic.

    MIU offers an unlimited design package. You can contact us today for more details by clicking here.

    Email Marketing — the What and the Why

    Email Marketing — the What and the Why

    We’ve talked plenty about the types of digital marketing there is on our blog. Now it’s time to delve into one such type — email marketing. What exactly is an email marketing campaign and why should you run it for your business?

    Email marketing is exactly as it sounds. It’s a series of emails that companies send out to their customers to update them on what’s going on with their brand. These can include events, promotions, news, and many more.

    There are plenty of reasons for a business to start an email marketing campaign, of which one is that it is the most effective marketing channel. Emails have been said to offer the highest ROI, of up to 4400%! In fact, research has shown that there has been a huge increase in email engagement just over the past year alone.

    Email marketing is also one of the most measurable channels. From click-throughs to conversion rates, it is a lot easier to gauge how your campaign is doing — more so if you’re doing something right.

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    How to Run Your Own Email Marketing Campaign

    Now that we’ve gotten the importance of email marketing out of the way, it’s time for you to actually start your own campaign. Not sure where to begin? Fret not. Here’s our comprehensive guide to creating your own email marketing campaign, step-by-step.

    1. Build your subscriber list

    Check List Clip Art

    Before you can even begin sending out emails, you need recipients to send these emails to. This is where you should build your subscriber list to help you get the ball rolling. There are a few ways to do so.

    First off, you could create a signup form on your website where you offer a newsletter or product updates. Consumers who are interested will generally want to sign up for it. However, you might notice that this method does not always work. Alternatively, you can offer something for free (known as a lead magnet or an opt-in bribe) in return for an email address. Make sure your opt-in bribe actually offers value to your visitors, so that they are willing to share their addresses with you.

    Next, you need an opt-in form. The most successful areas of a website that generally sees conversions from an opt-in form include the welcome page, the header, footer, as well as the sidebar. You could even have a slider or a lightbox to place your opt-in form. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide where would be the most aesthetic and engaging place to put it.

    Never buy an email list. Most of the time, your emails will get identified as spam and end up being ineffective. Additionally, you are more likely to get higher unsubscribe rates as well. Getting permission is more important if you want your campaign to be successful.

    2. Decide what to write

    Blogging And Content

    Now that you have your email list, you can begin creating content for it. Make sure your content is compelling and captivating, or you’ll see just as many people unsubscribe as quickly as they signed up.

    There are a few different types of email marketing campaigns you could run. These can be split into three broad categories — marketing emails, transactional emails, and operational emails.

    Marketing emails include anything from newsletters, invitations, press releases, to sales promotions. The main aim of marketing emails is to stay in touch with your consumers and to keep communication flowing. This way, your brand remains present and relevant in their daily lives.

    Transactional emails are usually automated and are triggered only after some sort of activity from your consumers. These include registration confirmations, received payments, and order tracking emails. A great way to start your email marketing campaign is via your first follow-up email, which can be a welcome message of sorts. You can engage an email service provider such as Campaign Monitor to create an autoresponder sequence for this.

    Lastly, operational emails generally contain important information about your business that goes beyond your products or services. This includes anything that affects your service availability such as maintenance plans. While it may not seem important to keep your consumers updated about such news, it is a great way to remind them of the value you provide.

    3. Make it personal

    Anu Cliparts Black And White Png Black And White Stock - Black And White Communication Clipart, Transparent Png - kindpng
    Segmentation is essential in giving your emails that personal touch. (Source: KindPNG)

    Take your email marketing campaign a step further by segmenting your list. This means having more targeted groups to send different emails to — that way, your emails feel more personal.  Research found that marketers who used segmented campaigns observed up to a 76% increase in revenue! This helps in boosting your clickthrough rates while decreasing unsubscribe rates.

    Consumers can be segmented into different categories such as preferences, location, open rate, inactivity, and even shopping cart abandonment. Ever received an email when you close a website without checking out? That’s exactly what segmentation is all about.

    Through email segmentation, you can reward more active consumers with a special offer, while nudging those who are inactive to take the next step. Even if they end up unsubscribing, this is only going towards keeping your subscriber list fresh and maintaining your bounce rates.

    4. Design your emails appropriately

    Email Newsletter Design: Structuring The Perfect Newsletter in 2020
    Email designs are so important – they are your first impression. (Source: Moosend)

    It is not enough to have intriguing and compelling content. The outlook of your emails has to be attractive enough to make your readers want to click through. Having plenty of images in your email always works in your favour (as long as they are not messy and cluttered!). 90% of information processed by the human brain tends to be visual, so the design of your emails are of extreme importance.

    Not only that but make sure your subject line stands out so that your emails are being opened in the first place. Did you know that 47% of all emails are being opened based on the subject line alone? Talk about making a good first impression!

    More importantly, your emails have to be mobile-friendly. Why? 61.9% of all emails are being opened on mobile. In fact, those that aren’t optimised on mobile devices get deleted by 75% of your readers — or worse still, they will unsubscribe!

    Speaking of unsubscribing, you want to make it easy for your subscribers to do just that. Yes — you heard that right. It may seem counterintuitive by giving your readers the chance to opt out, but readers who want to unsubscribe and are unable to do so will mark your emails as spam. This could lead to greater problems for your campaign in the future.

    Additionally, if you want to get a higher click-through rate, it is important to always include links and a call-to-action (CTA). Make sure your CTA stands out from the rest of your email — choose a different colour, have clean fonts, and leave white space around your CTA button. Do remember to keep each email limited to only one CTA, or readers won’t know what to click! MailChimp has designed a simple and helpful guide to designing effective emails.

    You can even add interactive elements to your emails, upgrading static messages to a whole other level. Details such as animation, hover effects, and more can make your entire email feel like a fun experience. Explore other tools and services such as dark mode or Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP).

    5. Establish your sending frequency and goals

    WPForms Not Sending Email: How to Fix It
    You don’t want to annoy your readers too much, but you still want to be fresh in their minds. (Source: Kaliforms)

    Timing is important. You want to know when and how often your emails should be sent to your recipients. Avoid sending too many emails within a short amount of time to keep them out of spam folders!

    The time of day which your email lands in your recipients’ inbox also plays a part in improving clickthrough rates. Research has shown that open rates are highest between 10 to 11am, when readers tend to check their emails during breakfast or before starting work. However, this statistic changes on Sunday, where 9pm seems to be the more popular timing.

    6. Test and track your data

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    A/B testing helps you choose the most favourable and desired result you can get. (Source: Flat Icon)

    Companies that A/B test every email in fact see 37% more marketing returns than those who do not. Testing is essential for knowing if your email design, subject lines, or landing pages work. A/B tests allow you to understand what readers prefer and choose the more successful option.

    Tracking your email data can also help greatly in your other marketing efforts. Note which emails got more clicks; which subject lines induced more opens. Then, put this knowledge to use in your future content — not just for emails, but for your other content. Watch your marketing KPIs and ROI soar!

    Knowing statistics like the number of shares, undelivered emails, or what time of day people opened them will tell you a lot about how it is performing. Sure, finding a generic statistic could help you decide your sending times and frequency at the start, but it would be better to adjust it based on YOUR audience. With sufficient data, you can better tweak step 5 of your campaign. Keep your open rates and click through rates high, and your spam complaints low.

    Now you’re ready to launch your own email marketing campaign. If the above steps seem too complicated or they seem like too much work, MIU is here to provide any marketing services you need — including email marketing. In fact, we are starting our own campaign, so keep a lookout for more tips in the future!

    With a team of professional marketers at our core, we are equipped to connect your voice to your audience — no matter what channel is being used. Let us do the job for you.