online sales Archives - Elemerce

Trademarks: Registering and Why They Matter

The Nike Swoosh is a definable marking that instantly lets you recognize the brand Nike. The glowing Apple on the back of a MacBook instantly confirms it’s an Apple product. The golden arches and the phrase “I’m lovin’ it” are recognizably McDonalds. These are all examples of a trademarked properties that protects the company’s ownership of their brand creatives. 

Trademarks can often be considered the most valuable piece of intellectual property a business owns, according to Business Law Centre. A trademark is what identifies your goods or services from others. 

A trademark can be a symbol such as an Apple logo, or it can be a slogan like Subway’s “Eat Fresh.” It can also be a word, design, or any combination of these elements, as long as the mark identifies and distinguishes one set of goods or services from another

The main reason to get a trademark is to protect your business, brand, and idea. If someone were to copy you, your trademark registration would hold up in a court of law. 

There are various ways you can about registering a trademark, but the option that provides the most protection is to register it federal with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Through their online service, you can provide all the information required, including your branding assets, websites, and goods or services description. 

You have the option to hire an attorney, or you can do it yourself, if you are a US citizen registering in the US, and your attorney must be a registered in the US. The USPTO has a lot of great information for you, including a basic facts video we recommend. 

At the end of registering, you will have to pay a fee that starts at around $350 depending on how many goods, services, or items you plan to have your trademark cover. 

It is also to be noted that you will find cheaper options that are not federally registered. These cheaper options may seem better for yourr budget, however if you want to ensure your trademark registration is legit, it is best to go with the federal option. 

If you have a business with a recognizable logo and name, it is best practice to get it trademarked. In fact, before even naming a business, it is always smart to check the Trademark Database to see if it is available. 

If you ever plan to sell items on Amazon as your own brand, it is required that you have a trademark first. Amazon requires this for their brand registry application. 

Overall, registering your trademark is an exciting step for your business. It is the first step to Amazon selling, and making your brand legitimate in a court of law.

If you need help with your business and branding, contact Elemerce to grow your online business today. 

Best E-Commerce Platforms For 2021

E-Commerce is selling things over the internet. This has been a growing trend over the last few decades, and it is predicted that by 2040, 95% of sales will be through e-commerce. This means if you are considering selling your products online or starting an online retail front, now is the time! 

To get started selling online, you will most likely decide to use an established e-commerce platform to list your products, host your website, and handle transactions. Deciding what platform to use can be overwhelming because there are so many options. 

The top 3 platforms for e-commerce are WooCommerce (23%), Shopify (21%), and Wix (15%). Here is our comparison of these 3 most common platforms and why they are ranked the best. 

WooCommerce

WooCommerce integrates with an existing WordPress site seamlessly, which makes it the most popular choice for any business that already has a website through WordPress. There are over 75 million websites built with WordPress, so this is why WooCommerce has such a high percentage of users. WooCommerce is great for complex stores and companies that have a development team to customize their coding to make it personalized. They offer a plethora of resources, development tools, and support. Their pricing varies on if you need hosting, themes, etc. so check out their breakdown of costs to determine if this platform will fit your needs. Overall, if you already have a WordPress site, then WooCommerce will probably be the easiest way to get selling quick! 

Shopify

Shopify is a great platform for a novice user to even a developer. It has an easy to use back end with a wide selection of apps to easily integrate. It gives you great stats reporting on your store and it starts at only $29 a month for the basic plan. It is great for businesses of all sizes and can be integrated with your web service to have a “store” page on whatever platform you already use. If you don’t have a website yet, it is easy to create one with one of their free or paid themes. They offer support to get your store started and have options for a Shopify developer to create customized pages too. A lot of our clients at Elemerce use Shopify and we definitely think it is a great platform to get started. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us today to discuss more. 

Wix

Wix is a great platform to build a flawless looking website with simple drag and drop features. Their back end is so seamless that any beginner can use, and if you get stuck they have Wix members ready to assist you. Wix offers an excellent app market to integrate and make your website top notch. Their pricing is affordable but varies depending on the features your site offers, such as credit card transactions and online bookings. Overall if you want to be able to design your website on your own without any coding knowledge, then Wix is the top choice for you. 

This is just an overview of the top 3 e-commerce platforms used, but there are really so many excellent options out there, so it is recommended that you do your research before deciding. Some other notable options to consider are BigCommerce, Magneto, and SalesForce Commerce Cloud

As you do your research, consider your coding abilities, what you are selling, and any apps you want to integrate. Elemerce is here to help you sell more, so contact us today to discuss how we can help your online business.

How to sell on Amazon

Selling on Amazon can be a very profitable endeavor for small business owners or even people who enjoy reselling. If you have an established e-commerce brand or you buy products wholesale, selling your products on Amazon could open up a whole new revenue stream and help your brand be found by more customers. Here is how to get started selling on Amazon. 

Choose A Seller Plan 

To get started, you will choose a plan that fits your business best. There is an individual plan that costs you $0.99 with each item you sell. If you start selling a lot, this cost can add up quickly. The professional plan costs $39.99 per month, so if you are selling more than 40 items per month, this is the best option. More info about the plan options can be found on Amazon’s pricing page

Create A Seller Account 

Next you create an Amazon Seller Account. For this you will need your business info, a credit card, tax info, bank info, and a government ID. Then you will log into Seller Central, which is the platform for sellers to look at their account stats, manage products, pricing, and inventory, interact with customers, and set up advertising. There is even a Seller Central app where you can manage your Amazon store on the go. 

What can you sell on Amazon? 

If a product you want to sell is already on Amazon, then it is possible for you to take the steps to get your products on there too. There are some products though that will require approval, such as medical devices. Certain items such as cell phones can be sold used or refurbished, whereas some items can only be sold new such as beauty tools. Full details on Amazon’s restrictions can be found on their website

How To List A Product 

To begin selling, you will create a product listing on Seller Central. To create a product listing, you must have a product identifier such as a UPC, EAN, ISBN for books, or GTIN. If you don’t have one, you can apply for an exemption which will then get you an Amazon code. On Seller Central you can add your own SKUs for your own personal inventory system. 

Next you will need product images, offer details, shipping options, and other relevant product details like sizing, brand, colors, and category. You will want to add keywords that will help your product be found. 

How To Attract Customers

Once your products are live, you will want to make your product more appealing than competitors so it gets clicks and conversions. There are several things you can do to increase your listings, such as set competitive pricing and choosing the best keywords. You can also create advertising campaigns to promote your products. You can also start listing your products on Amazon Prime, which is Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) but that requires sending your inventory to an Amazon warehouse. There are many things you can do to boost your sales and optimize your listings. 

Overall, selling on Amazon is an experience that can be fun to learn and get creative along the way. Amazon is continually growing and adding more dedicated users that only shop on Amazon. If you are a seller, it’s time to get your products listed. If you need assistance with getting started, contact Elemerce. Our goal is to help you sell more products! 

 

How To Get Your Brand Listed As An Amazon Brand On The Amazon Seller Platform

If you have gone through the efforts of creating your own brand concept, then you deserve to have that brand featured in all its glory for your customers to learn about your product and buy directly from you over other sellers. 

You may have a beautiful website filled with all the info you think your customers could ever need, but the reality is that many consumers rely on Amazon rather than independent websites. 

Amazon is convenient, has a variety of product options in one place, and suggests similar items for a consumer to analyze before making an easy swipe purchase. When a consumer is shopping for an item on Amazon, they usually are not leaving Amazon, which is why it’s so important to have a strong presence with your products on Amazon. 

Having your brand featured on Amazon is basically like your own storefront within the Amazon app or website. Think of Amazon as the mall that you are renting a space in, and you want your front window filled with your top selling items, new releases, and seasonal picks. Your Amazon storefront can be designed to match your branding, fit your voice, and reflect your aesthetic. 

Using the Amazon brand platform also unlocks features and tools not available in the basic Amazon Seller platform. These tools create a better experience for your customer, encouraging brand loyalty, and customer retention. 

You can customize your brand’s listings and protect brand accuracy and content, even if other sellers offer your product. New analytics and advertising tools become available too, which will increase sales and make this free service worth it. 

Step 1: Trademark your brand 

To get your brand listed on Amazon, the first requirement is you must have an active text or image trademark. This first step of getting your brand trademarked is when you will have to spend money. 

To have your brand trademarked, you must go through the official government trademark service and pay the one-time fee which will vary from $200 and up depending on what product categories in which you are trademarking. It is very important to go through the official government trademark registry because Amazon checks this database to see if your brand is legitimately registered. If you are not in the U.S., you can read Amazon’s individual country requirements. It is also to be noted that your trademark must be on the packing or the product. 

Step 2: Sign up for Amazon Brand Registry 

If you don’t have an Amazon account, you must create one now. Next you go to the Brand Registry page and click Sign In. You must be the trademark owner to submit a brand registry application, and if you aren’t, you can only apply to be an additional user for that brand’s account. 

Step 3: Enroll Your Brand 

Once you sign in, you can enroll your brand. This is the step where you need to have your trademark registry info ready to go. You will list the product categories that your brand sells. Once you finish filling out the information, you will receive a verification code and will proceed with the setup of your new branded account.  

Once inside the Brand Registry system, you can create a custom landing page to represent your brand that lives within Amazon. When someone is looking at your products, they will be able to click “Go To Brand Name Store” and check out your custom digital storefront. 

This is where you will want to include any photos and logos that define your brand, and highlight your best selling items, product categories, and seasonal releases. It is recommended you keep this up to date with items that you want to highlight. You will get analytics that will help you make better business decisions and teach you about your customer habits. 

Overtime, having your brand represented on Amazon should help increase your brand awareness and gain loyal customers. You will also be able to control listings for your products, even if other sellers are offering your product. 

Overall if you have your own branded items, having the Brand Registry features is a great business tool to use to increase your online sales. 

Need help managing your Amazon listings? Check out the e-commerce services that Elemerce offers. 

 

Best Dropshipping Apps For Shopify

Shopify has become the popular website of choice for e-commerce solutions. With it’s easy to use functionality and capability to integrate so many great apps, it’s arguably the best option for anyone wanting to start an online store. What if you don’t have a product? That’s okay because there are numerous dropshipping apps offering print on demand services and products that can be instantly shipped to a purchaser. 

Here are a few of the best dropshipping apps for Shopify: 

Oberlo – Oberlo is a third-party dropshipping app that is easy to install and choose products to begin selling right away. With a wide variety of products to choose from, you can curate your own store, then customers purchase the items you have listed, and a third-party will ship directly to your customer. Now you don’t have to deal with the hassle of sourcing and shipping products yourself. Some popular items on Oberlo are sunglasses, watches, fashion jewelry, and apparel. 

Printify – Printity is a great resource if you have the design for a shirt, but don’t want to have to physically print them or order in bulk. Printity will print on demand whatever products your customer orders, and then ship directly to them. Now you can focus on designing new ideas, and save the manual printing for someone else! Printify also offers hoodies, mugs, long sleeve shirts, leggings, and other items you can design on. It has easy to use functionality to create and customize a mock that integrates seamlessly with your Shopify store. 

Dripshipper – Have you always wanted to start your own coffee brand? Now you can with Dripshipper. Choose your beans, design your label, and guarantee freshness with every order. 

Creative Hub – Creative Hub is a great resource for artists looking to produce their designs in various ways to share with the world. Artists can upload their designs to make custom prints or various sizes, wall hangings and more. It also comes with a certificate of authenticity so your customers know that they got original work from you. 

Lulu xPress – Lulu xPress is a great app for writers and authors who want to publish their own books without having to go through a publisher. Now you can share your stories, poetry, and artwork with the world in custom books, calendars, coloring books and more. 

These are only a few of the hundreds of apps that integrate with Shopify. Starting your online brand and expanding your digital storefront is easy with dropshipping options in every category. 

Need help launching your online brands? See what Elemerce can do for you. 

 

4 Strategies to Prepare for Amazon Q4 Success

Amazon’s fourth-quarter spans the months of October through December and is known as a crucial time for Amazon sellers to increase traffic and drive sales. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season, Q4 is a great opportunity for sellers to boost their annual sales and take advantage of the peak in demand. 

Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran when it comes to Amazon sales, it’s always a good idea to prepare ahead of time and incorporate new strategies that can guarantee Q4 success. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as we approach Amazon’s fourth quarter. 

  • Organize your inventory

When it comes to maximizing your Q4 revenue, it’s best to take a ‘Goldilocks’ approach with your inventory. Running out of stock during this quarter prevents you from reaping 100% of rewards. On the other hand, too much stock often leads sellers no choice but to lower prices to the point of profit-loss. To avoid these scenarios, plan your Q4 inventory to ensure items are available to ship into Amazon by October. Planning in advance also prevents late arrivals of inventory, which can lead to revenue losses. Tools like RestockPro can help you make smart inventory decisions for your company.

  • Plan for longer lead times

Q4 is Amazon’s busiest time of the year. Be sure to plan for longer lead times at Fulfilment Centers, which are often at maximum capacity. In many cases, it can take Amazon twice as long to process issues and receive shipments. As you prepare your business for Q4 success, keep in mind time delays that may occur and plan accordingly. 

  • Find pricing that works

Come January, when the fourth-quarter ends, sales inevitably decline and sellers with overpriced inventory are left with overstocks and missed revenue opportunities. To avoid sitting on an excess of inventory post-Q4, develop a pricing strategy that works for your brand and your consumers. If enough inventory hasn’t been sold halfway through the quarter, have a lower price in mind that you can adopt before Q4 ends. It is always better to have a reduced margin at the end of the quarter than an abundance of sitting inventory come January. 

  • Optimize your listings

Q4 is the time to pull out all the stops when it comes to optimizing your listings. Take the months before the fourth-quarter to learn which optimization strategies work for you and familiarize yourself with Amazon’s style guide for your category. By doing your research, writing clear titles, and incorporating keywords, your products can be met with high engagement rates and plenty of sales.

Best-Selling Products During the COVID-19 Era

The novel coronavirus has changed consumer shopping habits, maybe forever. Certain industries have seen a sharp decline in sales, while others saw a surprising spike, and many more are getting creative with how they market to customers and how they can pivot their product lines to meet the current market demand.

The largest growth has been in categories such as home appliances, home improvement, security and protection, sports and entertainment, and lights and lighting – essentially everything you would expect to spend money on if you were in sheltering-in-place and working from home.

What made the best-sellers list?

Here are some of the top products that have sold in the first half of 2020, as COVID-19 impacted the whole country.

  • Cleaning supplies: This is not a surprising best-seller. With everything from soap and disinfecting wipes to toilet paper and paper towels all selling out in physical and online locations across the country, the care and cleaning category has seen extreme demand during this time. The priority for many people has been cleanliness and comfort as the focus on health safety has grown.
  • Yeast: Some grocery stores and online suppliers have had a hard time keeping items in stock as more consumers picked up cooking and baking at home habits once going to sit down at restaurants was no longer an option. With fewer options for things to do outside of the house, many people took up baking, particularly things like bread, which drove up purchases of yeast way past the point of demand previously. Many stores were sold out for weeks.
  • At-home fitness equipment: Like many other businesses, gyms shut their doors for health and safety and people pivoted to working out at home. Items like kettlebells, resistance bands, hand weights, and pull-up bars all saw increased sales as people started buying equipment to support their new home gym routines.
  • Puzzles: Across Amazon and other platforms, puzzles became very hard to come by as people searched for new entertainment options and hobbies to keep themselves and their families busy.
  • Nintendo Switches: Another source of family entertainment – the Nintendo Switch – saw surging sales that saw it sold out at vendors everywhere. This was an already popular product that saw an even bigger boost in light of conditions being impacted by
    COVID.
  • Work from home tools: With a huge portion of the American workforce transitioning to work from home or remote work situations, there’s been a significant uptick in office supplies and technology. Webcams, laptops, desks, office, chairs, and monitors have also seen a spike in sales that would be very unusual outside of a pandemic.
  • Baby gates: One ecommerce report noted that baby gates and screens have seen bigger sales in the first half of 2020, likely as a solution for parents who need to crate a sudden in-home separation of their work and personal space and create boundaries for pets and kids.

If you’re looking for a way to drive more sales, we can help your business get in front of more customers. Our experience in promotion, marketing, and sales can help you connect with a wider audience and help you get the best selling results possible. Find out more by contacting our team today.

How eCommerce Businesses Can Thrive During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Everyone’s home, which means more shopping online than ever before. Whether people are trying to find a new source for their essential items–be it clothing or children’s toys–or looking for games and entertainment during their newfound free time, eCommerce businesses that position themselves correctly stand to gain big.

Here’s some advice to help your business shift focus and thrive during these hard times.

Offer a Promotion

If you’ve been thinking about a promotion, now might be the right time to go forward with it. With more eyes on online businesses than ever before, it’s likely going to get plenty of attention. Plus, a good deal can help promote sales even as budgets tighten.

If you have a lot of stock on a specific item you’re looking to move or an idea for a product that may be particularly well-received right now (think cooking gadgets and family games), why not give it a go? 

Boost Your Amazon Presence

Amazon has seen an incredible uptick in sales in recent months as non-essential businesses have been forced to close their doors and more people have chosen to stay inside and have their items delivered. Many items and categories are out-of-stock entirely, and the sales prices for some goods–even items as simple as jigsaw puzzles–have highered to match demand.

If you have relevant items to sell, Amazon is definitely a place you want to be. Building your Amazon presence and perhaps putting a bit of money into sponsored listings would be a smart move right now, thanks to the unprecedented traffic Amazon is seeing at this time.

Change Your Marketing

Your marketing plan needs to quickly adapt to be both thoughtful and relevant during the pandemic. Everyone’s at home, which means focus and priorities are shifting. 

When thinking about your marketing, consider that people have a lot of free time but also a lot more restrictions than they used to. Things they used to go out and do, like go to the movies or workout at the gym, must now be done at home. The extra spare time is also leading to boredom, anxiety, and other issues. 

For instance, if you sell an exercise device, try an angle like, “Get your workout in at home and kill boredom at the same time.” 

Spend on Marketing

Unfortunately, many companies are going out of business as this pandemic leads to major unforeseen disruption. Certain industries are being hit far worse than others, but as an eCommerce business, you have the agility to change your approach on the fly and shift to meet new consumer demands.

With less competition in traditional areas, you can rise to the top by marketing the right products to the right people. In other words, if you aren’t already investing in digital marketing, call someone in to help. Also, if you are investing, consider upping your spending. Analyze the potential ROI for today’s most in-demand products and you can end up growing big time through this crisis as you service society’s new needs.