10 Great Ecommerce Ideas for October 2016

Practical Ecommerce periodically asks industry insiders to share a great, innovative idea that could help an ecommerce company. Here’s what 10 of them had to say for the October 2016 installment of “10 Great Ecommerce Ideas.”

Offer Online Catalog Ordering (If You Send Catalogs)

“Holidays mean catalogs. Even in 2016. You’re missing out if you send catalogs in the mail and do not offer tools to take catalog orders online easily. Remember these words, for your home page: ‘Ordering from a catalog? Use this catalog quick order form to speed up your day!’ Build a simple tool by reviewing the websites of catalogs you currently receive. You’ll see more orders overall, get more value from your catalogs, and may even see a higher average order value.”

Robert Sieracki
Ox Optimal, Inc

Track Profits for Each Item

“Closely monitor your profit margins for each and every item, for every sale, across all platforms. By doing so you can adjust spending, balance budgets, and invest into the growth of your business.”

Carlos Rivera
Ecommerce Web Developer
Haddrell’s Point Tackle

Protect Your Marketplace

“If you own an ecommerce marketplace, it is important to file an interim designation of agent form with the U.S. Copyright Office to make sure that you can take advantage of the safe harbor offered by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Without this interim designation of agent form, you cannot.”

John Di Giacomo
Revision Legal

Segment PPC Campaigns by Geography

“Analyze the pay-per-click campaign performance of major cities and states and then create separate bids for those areas. Set higher bids in locations performing well; bid down any areas with weak performance.”

Denis Coombes
Director of Sales
ROI Revolution

View Data in Different Ways to Aid in Understanding

“Data can be expressed graphically or tabular through platforms like Google Analytics and Adobe’s Omniture (part of Adobe’s Marketing Cloud) or through dynamically generated visual analytics platforms, such as SAS Business Intelligence. Google Analytics is best for entry-level web analysis and is supported by plenty of online training.”

Richard Sexton

To Succeed with Drop Shipping, Write Relatable Product Descriptions

“Retailers that successfully utilize drop shipping understand that the data they receive from vendors is a only starting point. Product descriptions from vendors are often written for an audience of expert retailer buyers — not consumers.”

Jeremy Hanks
DropShip Commerce

Include Discount and Incentives with Ship Confirmation

“Use your order confirmation and ship confirmation emails to offer discount codes or added incentives for customers to make additional purchases — these emails are ones that actually get opened and read.”

Jordan Lindberg
Founder and Owner
Stardust Memorials

Beware of American Express Pricing

“Prior to 2014, American Express set the processing rate for merchants. It was 3.50 percent for most ecommerce transactions and 2.89 percent + $0.10 for brick-and-mortar. In 2014, AmEx introduced the OptBlue program for merchants that process less than $1 million in AmEx sales per year. The program gives a wholesale cost to merchant account providers and allows them to set the merchant rate in a similar but less complicated fashion as Visa and MasterCard. For most merchants, the OptBlue program should reduce the effective AmEx rate — a 0.5 percent to 1.00 percent reduction is not uncommon. But some merchant account providers are adding fees and surcharges that can actually increase the effective rate. I’ve seen effective rates — wholesale rate + network fee + non-swipe fee + provider surcharges and support fees — as high a 4.70 percent. Beware.”

Phil Hinke

Offer Free or Flat-rate Shipping

“A leading cause of shopping cart abandonment is unexpected, high shipping costs. To combat this, find a way to offer free or flat-rate shipping. If product margins are low, include a minimum order threshold to qualify for free shipping, which encourages larger purchases. Consider testing a strategy of adding some of the shipping expense to your product price, which helps to convert shoppers that will only pay so much for shipping.”

Stephen Bulger
Vice President of Sales
eFulfillment Service

Design for Mobile First

“When designing a new website or a new feature on a site, start with the mobile version first. It’s much easier to start with the small version and then add components for larger devices than to start with a larger design and try to remove components. You might even realize that you don’t need to add everything for the larger version and a cleaner, simple store is better for you.”

Eric Davis
Founder, Developer
Little Stream Software

Got a great ecommerce idea? Email Nic Murdock at

Nic Murdock
Nic Murdock
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