How Automated Product Recommendations Can Drive Sales

You may have noticed that many of your own favorite online retailers or through social media have a “product recommendations for you” section based on an item that you recently bought or are looking at buying. Amazon is certainly one of the reigning champs when it comes to this strategy. Cleverly enough, even paid streaming websites and apps such as Netflix cash in with this strategy for marketing, automatically recommending a certain movie or series based on something that you (the customer) has chosen yourself to watch. This is due to an automated system, also known as marketing automation or machine learning, which takes a variety of factors and calculates what you are most likely to be interested in browsing, purchasing, or watching—you name it. So, how does this strategy work, and why is it so effective? Let’s take a look.

When it comes to online shopping, it seems that personalization is one of the keys to providing a valuable shopping experience. Customers are not only more likely to purchase multiple items, but they will return and conduct more business with that website. Customers want to feel like the business they are shopping from actually cares about them and the quality of their shopping experience so they are more willing to be receptive to product recommendations. Often, these product recommendations are so spot on to their interests and needs, and the customer finds themselves so pleasantly surprised, that they will immediately add the recommended product into their basket.

automated product recommendations

Where Do You Put Product Recommendations?

You will more than likely see these product recommendations in one of three places: the online retailer’s home page, on the same page of a product you have already clicked, or when you are just about to check out. These can be created by marketing automation software that assesses data and similar automation tools. I have often found that the last two are the most effective and here’s why. Often, you have a certain product or, at least, type of product that you have gone onto that specific website to search for. You often do not need further product recommendations for something that you are not looking for right at this minute. However, once the website algorithm sees what you are actually searching for right at that moment, it is much more likely to be able to offer you product recommendations that are relevant to you, right now. There are so many online retailers that cater to what you need right now when you want it—this is incredibly important. For example, you have ventured onto your favorite clothing retailer’s website, with a search for a green cardigan at the forefront of your mind. You search for one yourself, by either typing it into the website’s search engine, or finding it through their category options. You click on a green cardigan and then, all of a sudden, you are presented with five to seven more green cardigans that you like even more. You can’t decide which one you like most, so you select two, maybe three, and click them into your basket! Done!

Save for Later

Many online retailers also offer the “save for later” option, where potential purchases will be stowed away if they are not immediately purchased. Although some may argue that a low percentage of these items that are sorted into this option actually get purchased, it is certainly a much higher percentage that this item will be returned to, over a retailer that does not have this option. For example, if I have a bunch of items in my cart, and I realize that I cannot necessarily afford to or do not really need some of these items right now, instead of eliminating them from my cart altogether, I can sort them into “save for later.” I have found that when I am forced to delete a product altogether, I rarely, if ever, come back to search for it again. Odds are, I will have probably forgotten about it. Save for later makes sure you do not forget about these items and that, every time you add a new item to your cart, they are still there waiting for you.

automated product recommendations online shopping

So, How Does It Work?

So, you may be wondering how a website does this in the first place. Can it read minds? Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that. First and foremost, the retailer will gather information about what you’re searching for now and what you’ve searched for in the past. Essentially, it’s your entire search history. You may feel that these websites must be using your personal details and information in order to come up with such close to perfect recommendations for you. Honestly, it’s a lot simpler than that. They will also take their own sales history, and look at what items have historically done well sales wise, in relation to what you are looking for. They also often look at what other customers have bought that have ended up purchasing the same items as you or have put the same items in their cart. Amazon, again, is another master of this technique. Not only does this help you find other items that you might be looking for (or didn’t know you were looking for), but the nosey side of us wants to know what other people are buying. You know it’s the truth! It also goes back to the strategy of personalization and feeling like the retailer cares about and knows you. When you see these product recommendations based on what other people have bought, your brain is likely to go, “So, you’re saying that someone like me bought these items? Am I missing out on something? I have to have this!” I’m just saying, there’s a small possibility my brain has done exactly this.

In conclusion, automated product recommendation using some basic information in regards to your customers and your site’s sales is highly valuable. Personally, as an occasional online shopper myself (yes, occasional), I have found product recommendations to be the most valuable in terms of me purchasing additional products or even getting me to consider purchasing additional products. It is so important to keep customers interested in your products, and coming back for more. If a customer knows that they can come to you, as a retailer, and know that they will help them find the products they need and more, it is highly likely to drive your sales right up.

Tips on Creating the Perfect At-Home Work Space

Whether you’re lucky enough to be able to work at home full time, or you just need a workspace to be able to use a few hours a week, you need a dedicated small space in which you actually want to spend time and maximize productivity during work hours. This is especially if you spend a lot of time in this space. Whether you will be working alone or it is a coworking space, you want your “office” the first thing on your to-do list is to be somewhere comfortable, free of distraction and will provide you with everything you need to get the job done. So, now that you’ve established that you want this idyllic workspace, how do you go about getting started? I certainly wouldn’t have known how without doing a little research, as this is something that I definitely struggle with myself. Let me take you through my thought process of establishing a workspace as a writer and how I would go about making it ideal for my personal needs.

What Am I Using This Space For?

Okay, so we’ve established I’m using my at-home office to write. Check. Am I going to be using my home office for anything else? Well, I am not a work-hungry typing machine that does not need to take breaks, so I will also be using it for the occasional social media browsing, research, checking emails, and potentially listening to music. I will also be using the office space to take physical notes on a notepad; therefore, I need some space to be able to spread out.

What Tools Do I Need in This Space?

So, now that I’ve established what I need the space for, I need to think about what tools I need to be able to execute this—without thinking about any extras. I most definitely need a desktop computer or a laptop. I also need a desk or a table to put it on, a chair, and a section of my home in order to put it. I also need notepads, pencils/pens, and sticky notes.


Where Can I Fit This Workspace into My Home?

After establishing what you’ll need, you’re going to get a better idea of how much room you’ll need. So, you’re going to need to think about what space you have in your home for this. Of course, you can most definitely set up your workspace at your kitchen table if you are tight for space, but we’re looking for a more permanent at home work space set up. Let’s see. I have some room just off of my dining room, where I can fit a decent sized desk and block it off with a room divider to make it feel a little more private and secure. Distractions will be minimal in this area. I think I’ll use that.

How Can I Make This Workspace a Place Where I Want to Be?

No matter what it is you’re using your workspace for, sitting at an office desk for potentially hours on end is not going to be the most ideal way to spend your day. Therefore, you need to think of ways to make it more visually and physically appealing. This may or may not sound silly to you, but it will make an absolute world of difference. Your workspace needs to be somewhere that you would choose to spend your time, rather than just staring at a boring office with a blank wall, while sitting on a hard, uncomfortable chair. So, ask yourself this. What do I find visually appealing, which I could easily fit into my home work space, and use to make this space more comfortable? Remember the old work-life balance? Well, it is a little bit like that but home-office balance. While you do want to make your home work space more visually appealing, you do not want to fill your space with too many unnecessary objects in order to do so. Clutter can often be a factor in making us feel overwhelmed, which is exactly the opposite of how you want your workspace to feel—you want to feel motivated. I think I’ll put in a couple real little succulent plants that I can watch grow as I’m thinking of my next brilliant idea. (It helps to think positive, okay?) Maybe I’ll have a photo of my adorable pup in a picture frame and a stress toy to squeeze in my not so brilliant moments. However, that’s it. Along with clutter comes distractions and you want to minimize these as much as possible. Not surprisingly, working at home can be one of the most distracting places for you to work, especially if you have kids, pets, a partner who can’t find something…the list goes on!

How Much Money Should I Spend in Creating My Work Space?

The answer to this is as little as possible! You did not create a workspace where you potentially make your income, just to spend more money doing so. Use as much as you already have in your home or find little ways to spruce it up at places like Target, Walmart or Homesense. Thrift stores can always be a great way to find like-new or vintage objects that will add so much value to your workspace. I would even recommend getting your work desk from a thrift store. There’s so much potential for upcycling or even just rocking the beautiful vintage look that a thrifty item can give you.

How Can I Block Out Outside Distractions?

Ultimately, blocking out outside distractions is probably the ultimate key in even having an at home work space. So, how do you ultimately achieve this when home offers so many distractions? I have been known to actually leave home in order to get any work done and have ended up preferring the varied noises of busy coffee shops, where I’m balancing a coffee and a laptop on my lap. If you have other people in your home that are presenting a distraction to you, you need to establish some ground rules as best you can. When you are in your home work space, that is your time to work, and you are not to be distracted. While this may or may not actually work, have some relaxing instrumental music going in your workspace to set the mood, maybe put some soothing scents in your little oil diffuser, and get to work!

Hopefully, these tips have helped you to think about creating a home workspace for yourself and, most importantly, how to go about doing it. Setting up a space just for you in order to get your work done and slay your goals is important and necessary if you work at home. Get to it!

3 Ways to Creatively Market a CBD Start-up with Limited Funds

The use of cannabidiol (CBD), such as CBD oil and hemp, is still a relatively new sensation; therefore, it can be difficult to creatively and effectively market your start-up if you do not have a large budget. True, when you have a new industry (like the cannabis industry), you do not necessarily have as much competition. However, this also means that it takes more effort to get your product out there, including the explanation of why someone would even want to use a product like medical cannabis, and what it will do for them. This particular subject will likely require extra convincing as to its uses and benefits, as not everyone believes in it. When you are trying to make it big in an industry with these challenges, a large marketing budget can most certainly be beneficial—after all, you want to try and get as much information out about your product as possible, by using as many different sources as you can. But what if you want to launch your CBD start-up with a limited budget? You may simply not have the required funds or are not willing to invest a large amount of money into an industry that is still relatively new. Either way, let’s take a look at three ways you can creatively market a CBD start-up with limited funds.

1. Use Social Media

Utilizing social media is the cheapest and most effective way of promoting any new business and spreading awareness. However, businesses promoting or selling CBD or any product that is related to cannabis like CBD oil, medical marijuana, and other CBD products, will have trouble advertising in the traditional way most companies will advertise on social media. After all, marijuana is still seen by millions as an illegal drug and don’t separate it from the THC products, even though it can help alleviate chronic pain through pain management, Parkinson’s disease, Dravet syndrome, and myriad other illnesses. Therefore, you will not see an ad promoting the use of CBD on any Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest post. This is due to the fact that, even though cannabis use is widely beginning to legalize in the US and Canada, it is still not legal everywhere, and it still considered to be a sensitive topic all over the world. A social media platform is not going to be particularly open to a product like marijuana that might be legal in one state, province or country, and not another, as they need to protect themselves legally, which is more than understandable. So, how do you get around this? Influencer marketing is a great place to start. This may mean sponsoring or providing free products to a YouTuber or a blogger. There is a large amount of both large and established companies and small start-ups that are jumping on the social media influencer bandwagon, and for good reason. Having said this, statistics show that even if CBD-related products were authorized to be posted on Facebook, it still may not be worth your time to do so, at least compared to the benefits of engaging in influencer marketing. The merely posting a photo or an ad on a social media platform such as Facebook or Instagram is still effective; however, the growing effects a social media influencer can have on a product or service cannot be argued. Whether or not you are aiming to advertise your CBD product through a social media platform or specifically through social media influencers, make sure you are promoting your product on as many different platforms as possible. This is especially true given the sensitive nature of cannabis. If for one reason or another your ad gets taken down on one platform, you still have plenty of others to fall back on.


2. Create Your Own Blog

While promoting your product to and engaging with already established bloggers is a fantastic idea, why not create your own blog? This can either be connected right to your own website or separate, with links referring to your products and services. Many of your potential consumers really do not know what CBD even is, and what it could do to benefit them. Again, due to the nature of where it comes from, it can be seen as a controversial and/or sensitive topic. Therefore, it is important to take this extra step to educate people on what your product is, and what it has the potential of doing. Explain what you’re selling and what you’re trying to achieve. Get the word out there and turn your readers into consumers. Designing and maintaining a blog does not have to be in any way expensive. If you have a flair for writing you can most certainly write your posts yourself, and it can be a great addition to your marketing plan. In addition to well-written articles about your product, what your company is about, and possible articles about CBD in the news today, make sure that your blog is visually appealing and well laid out. There is nothing worse for a reader than clicking onto a blog that either has way too much going on—to the point where you don’t actually know where the article is—or is just bland and bleak looking. Optimize your blog with simplicity, a well-chosen font, and relevant, eye-catching photos, and you’ll be on your way to attracting new consumers in no time.


3. Pitch Articles to Other Websites

While you’re typing away, spitting out spectacularly written articles for your own blog (or, you know, at least ones that are pretty good), why not write a few for other websites? Again, even if you, yourself, are not a writer, consider paying a freelancer to write a few key articles for you. Even if you have limited funds, this can certainly still be in your price range, and definitely worth the investment. Pitch some articles about the use and benefits of CBD to other (on topic) websites, and refer them back to your own products or websites yourself. I am, of course, not referring to trying to promote your products on a competitor’s website—that would be a waste of time! However, there are most certainly websites that are created for educational purposes, when it comes to the promotion and use of CBD and they likely are looking for articles about the very product you are promoting. Whether they are willing to pay you for your articles are not, this can certainly be a great investment for your start-up business.

As you can see, there are certainly ways to begin to make an impact on your CBD start-up, spending very little money. If you are willing to be creative and put some time and energy into marketing yourself, there is no reason why limited funds should stop you.

5 Advantages of Peer-to-Peer Bitcoin Exchanges

The term “bitcoin” is one that you more than likely have heard of. That does not necessarily mean you know what it is, so I am going to be helpful and let you know. (And, if you already know, bear with me!) To put it as simply as possible, bitcoin is a digital currency that is part of the bitcoin network. You can buy bitcoin and it is another way of providing payment for an object, service, etc., like a wire transfer. However, bitcoin transactions are in no way represented in a physical form, such as in cash or a check. Someone receiving bitcoin as a form of currency will receive it as a security code, with 16 symbols included. The symbols are then decoded with the receiver’s smartphone, to get what is known as cryptocurrency. This means that you have now received digital currency and you can use to pay for items or services online. (If the merchant excepts bitcoin cash, of course.) Although bitcoin is a digital currency and can be used for almost any transaction online, it can be cashed out into a physical currency. Still with me?

Now, a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange is much more personal than a “regular” bitcoin exchange. This means that you are trading directly (buy and sell bitcoin) with another person and, therefore, have more information that belongs to that person or business. You have more information than simply a code and have a better understanding of who you are trading with. By completing a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange, you have been matched or have found someone who is also interested in trading currency in this way. Therefore, you do not need to go through a third party to exchange these bitcoins and can exchange it directly between you.

We are going to look at five of the pros of peer-to-peer bitcoin exchanges as opposed to regular—and you can decide for yourself whether or not it may be right for you.

1. It is cheaper than a regular exchange.

Regular bitcoin exchanges are operated by a third party—people who have to be paid. Due to the fact that peer-to-peer exchanges of buying bitcoin are run by computer software, you are not paying a physical third party to complete this transaction for you. As a result, there are little—if any—additional fees to exchange bitcoin in this way. It is no secret that one of the main cons of conducting any sort of monetary exchange on the Internet is the fees that are charged as a result. If we do not feel that it is absolutely necessary, we are going to avoid these costs if at all possible. You may also feel like you are paying someone for a job that you could very well be doing yourself. Considering peer-to-peer exchanges over regular can definitely help cut some—if not all—of these costs.


2. You know who you are making your exchange with (making it more secure).

Some will argue that this is not true, but it is, in fact, true, as long as you have done your research on who you are making the exchange with, and you know they have a good reputation. While you have no information about who you are making your transaction within regular trade, with peer-to-peer bitcoin exchanges you have much more information about them. The information you have access to can range, but it often includes the other party’s IP address, their username, location, and bitcoin wallet address. Although not everyone may be interested in completing their bitcoin exchange face to face, it is also an option for those who are willing to do it for that extra bit of security in knowing who you are dealing with. Even if you do not know someone’s first and last night, having vital information such as their IP address would prove incredibly invaluable in the case of any sort of fraud.


3. You do not need to produce your own identity.

While this may seem like a downside in terms of knowing exactly who are you are making your exchange with, a peer-to-peer system will not ask you for proof of your identity. This is obviously ideal for those who do not like giving away too much of their identity on the Internet, for fear of invasion of privacy, identity theft, etc. A peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange system is actually based out of reputation, where you, therefore, establish trust. This system, which is, again, purely a computer system and not run by people, can refer you to other people who want to conduct peer-to-peer exchanges by their credibility and reputation. You may have heard that a peer-to-peer network has a “built-in reputation system” and this is why.


4. It is usually not necessary to involve a third party.

As mentioned above, peer-to-peer bitcoin exchanges generally do not require the involvement of third parties. Most people consider this a benefit for all kinds of reasons, including lower costs, and avoiding access to your personal information. However, it may be helpful to know that you can involve a third party if you deem it necessary. As with any sort of monetary trade, there may be disputes between the parties, which would require a third party outside of a computer system to act as an arbitrator in the situation, and come up with a solution.


5. You are better protected.

Due to the fact that peer-to-peer exchange websites are run by an intuitive software and not by a third party (physical humans), they cannot be exploited by the government in the same way that regular exchange websites can. This is due to the fact that there is no physical person or authority that the government would be able to impose their restrictions on, essentially leaving you and your bitcoin funds alone.

Although peer-to-peer bitcoin exchanges do have their small drawbacks, these are becoming few and far between. The platforms and software for peer-to-peer exchanges are becoming faster and more secure all the time, making the benefits of this sort of exchange far outweigh the dying negatives!

FAQs on Landing Pages and How to Improve Landing Page Conversion

When it comes to successfully running an online business, there are a variety of factors that you need to take into consideration. What is it you’re selling? How do you achieve conversion rate optimization when you create a marketing campaign? What is your profit margin? How do you reach your target audience and what is your target demographic anyway? Most importantly, how are you going to even reach your target demographic (the people you want to talk to)? After all, you can have the most perfectly executed website in the world, with the best prices, but if nobody knows that your website is there, the lead generation will be non-existent, the conversion rate will be poor, and you’re not going to be making any money! This is when your best marketing strategy comes into play, and that, more often than not, includes a landing page. In this article, we are going to examine what a landing page is, what it’s used for, and how to effectively design a landing page to improve conversion.

landing page conversion

What Is a Landing Page?

A landing page is typically a page that is separate from your main webpage. A landing page design is created specifically to convince a potential customer to turn from a reader to a buyer—hence the idea of landing page conversion rate. As a retailer or service provider in 2019, your competition is larger than ever before and, as a result, the attention span of your audience is shorter than ever. Therefore, the need to have a carefully executed and well-designed landing page with well written, succinct content (landing page copy) is critical. It takes less than a second to form a first impression, and less than three seconds for a potential consumer to decide that, after choosing to even open your page in the first place, whether you truly have anything that appeals to them.

What Is a Landing Page Used For?

As mentioned above, the purpose of a landing page is to convert potential customers from readers into buyers at the touch of a button—but this doesn’t mean that you’re purely just trying to sell a product. This could mean that you’re trying to grow your email subscriber list, you’re trying to get more awareness for a campaign, or you are offering a discount on an item or service you are selling. The purpose of your landing page has to be clear from the first click. Nobody is going to spend more than a few seconds at most trying to determine what message you are trying to get across, much less click on the link you are trying to direct traffic to.

How Can I Tell if My Landing Page Has Been Successful?

In order for you to consider your landing page “successful,” you first need to determine your definition of success. What goal are you trying to achieve? If you’re a retailer, is there a certain amount that you are looking to profit from the result of this exposure, or are you just looking to break even to get your company’s name and products out there? If you’re promoting a campaign, how many signatures are you looking to get? Would you consider your landing page a success if you simply got any clicks at all? As stated before, generally the goal of a landing page is to convert someone from a reader to a buyer—whether that’s buying your service, or simply “buying in” to the message you are trying to get across. In terms of tracking your progress, landing pages are often created with the ability to track your campaign traffic, as this is their only job. They are not a part of your website but designed to provide awareness and exposure, and boost sales.

landing page conversion

How Do I Provide Traffic to My Landing Page?

If you are not providing traffic to your landing page, there is little point in designing one at all. Landing pages can not only be the first pop-up link that you see when accessing a website, but they can also be provided as links and well-crafted content on external sources, separate from your own website. This means that they are sent out via email marketing, and on social media. With the popularity of social media at an all-time high, and new social media platforms always on the rise, there is almost always somewhere to insert the link to your landing page. You can easily provide access with something as simple as a Facebook post, or a link inserted into an Instagram bio.

What Is the Most Effective Way to Design My Landing Page?

When it comes to designing your landing page, you want to keep it simple, and effective. Again, this page is not designed to be a permanent fixture on your website. It’s not actually part of your website at all. A landing page is not intended to provide a ton of information—just to get your main point and message across while providing enough intrigue to get your potential customer to click into your website. A piece of cake, right? Well, not necessarily. You need to think about what would make you, as a potential customer, want to click into somebody’s website and try their product or service. Think about what grabs your attention on social media. After all, social media is one of—if not the—most effective ways to attract new customers. If you really think about this, you will most likely realize that images are what attracts you to a product or service. Images can tribute a reaction or emotion instantaneously, as your brain does not need time to read the text and then process the information. This is why social media platforms such as Instagram are so effective, and why more and more companies are sponsoring social media influencers. By posting a single image, a powerful thought or emotion can be triggered. Your brain can more quickly make the connection that, “Hey, I need that!” before your attention span is lost after the typical one to three seconds of deciding whether or not you will continue on a page. Therefore, keeping it simple through design and text, while powerfully portraying your message through the power of an image will be the most effective when it comes to a successful landing page conversion.

Having a landing page is a clever tool when it comes to getting your product, service, or message across, and tracking your progress to get it there. By understanding what a landing page is, and carefully executing it to be as effective as it can be, you may well be on your way to successfully change your potential customer from a reader into a buyer in no time.