What is the single most important thing an Auctiva Commerce merchant can do to convert lookiloos into buyers?
—Looking for Keys in Kansas City
Eckland: This is a big challenge, not only for Auctiva Commerce merchants but for all online merchants. It is the proverbial million-dollar question of online commerce.
While the answer varies a bit depending on what you're selling, I think the following guidelines can help all merchants convert more browsers into buyers:
- Price your products competitively. Customers will buy from you if your products are competitively priced and your store is set up adequately—but they will price-shop before pulling the trigger. Check the competition and if you are out of line on price, make the necessary adjustments.
- Provide clear, concise product descriptions and high-quality product images.
- Don't overload your home page with promotional or other text that pushes your product content down the page. A little bit is OK, but don't overdo it. You want your products to display "above the fold."
- Be sure to edit your Contact Us page to give your buyers a way to contact you. If possible, provide several contact methods and be sure to respond rapidly to any questions or concerns.
- Add payment-acceptance logos to your home page so your customers quickly know what forms of payment you accept. You can also add bookmarking logos and Twitter, Facebook or other social media logos.
- Consider utilizing the volume-discounting and couponing features of Auctiva Commerce to entice purchases. A custom Web page that highlights your available discounts can help here as well.
- And finally, test your store as a buyer to make sure you've got everything set up correctly. There is a lot of help available at the Auctiva Commerce help site and on the Auctiva Commerce forums, but it's always good to perform a sanity check after making any updates to your site.
All merchants that submit feeds to Google Merchant Center need to verify that they are the site owner
I received an e-mail telling me to verify my URL with Google in order to use the product feeds. I've been using the feeds all along-nothing's changed on my end. Does this apply to me?
—Perplexed in Peterborough
Eckland: Yes, all merchants who submit feeds to Google Merchant Center now need to verify that they are the site owner and then claim their Web site URL. Details about the process can found on the Google Merchant Center blog. Thankfully it's a pretty easy process, which you only have to do once.
In Auctiva Commerce, you can easily perform the verification step by copying the site verification tag from Google and saving it in the Google Webmaster Tools—Site Verification text box, which can be found by hovering your mouse over the Marketing tab, choosing Search Engine Optimization and clicking "Meta Data & Google Integration" in the Auctiva Commerce admin area.
It's nice that Auctiva Commerce offers such a wide range of store themes. But is there any way to go beyond the standard templates and customize my storefront?
—Constrained in Calgary
Eckland: With our current templates and technology, you can customize sections of selected Auctiva Commerce pages, in addition to adding custom Web pages and editing the header and footer areas to include graphics, links and other items. We also have a blank template, which you can more extensively customize in terms of colors, background images and style.
We are working on a large project to greatly expand the scope of customizations you can perform on Auctiva Commerce stores so that you can easily change the storefronts to meet your needs. Eventually I'd like to have every area of the Auctiva Commerce storefronts be easily customizable. Look for more customization flexibility soon.
I've closed my eBay Store and opened an Auctiva Commerce store. All is OK, except that my items are one of a kind, and I spend a lot of time listing information, such as search keywords, description summary, description HTML, etc. Do you have plans to streamline the Auctiva Commerce listing form? Could a seller, for example, fill in the title and description and then subscribe to a feature that would automatically fill in search keywords, repeat description info, etc.?
—Listed Out in Laredo City
Eckland: I'm glad to hear that Auctiva Commerce is working for you as a replacement to your eBay Store, and generally suits your needs. While that type of improvement you mention is not currently on our product roadmap, it sounds like it would be a beneficial improvement to the product. I'll add it to our list of possible enhancements for review.
May was our largest transaction-volume month, to date, and so far June is looking even better
How is Auctiva Commerce doing from a business perspective?
—Wondering in Winston-Salem
Eckland: It's doing quite well. We have several thousand merchants with active Auctiva Commerce stores, and we are increasing our transaction volume each month. May was our largest transaction-volume month, to date, and so far June is looking even better. And Auctiva Commerce is still free of monthly store fees, which is a nice benefit for our merchants.
What new features can we expect to see added to Auctiva Commerce in the next few months?
—Eager in Erie
Eckland: As noted earlier we are currently working on a large project to allow for greater customization of Auctiva Commerce storefronts. Our goal is to release a first version of that functionality in mid-July.
We're also working on a relatively small batch of bug fixes and minor enhancements, which are mainly centered on fixes in the admin area to prevent errors or streamline repetitive administrative functions.
You can ask Auctiva management your own questions by e-mailing "AskAuctiva" at the Auctiva dot com domain. Not all questions will be answered, but those selected will be published with responses from Auctiva's top managers in future Ask Auctiva articles. Due to the volume of mail we receive, it will not be possible to reply to you personally.
Please do not submit inquiries requiring an immediate response. Instead, please file a support request for technical or account-related issues.