Tag Archives: online customers


Taking Care of your Online Customer’s Self-Actualization Needs

Customers seeking to satisfy their self-actualization needs online do so to fulfil their total potential. Self-actualization represents the need for growth that people constantly strive for as they reach toward fulfilling their highest level needs.

Yes, if you’ve guessed that I’m talking about Maslow’s 1 hierarchy of needs, you’ve guessed correct. So, what can your online business offer to someone that already has battled through most of the layers of Maslow’s pyramid?

Let’s first have a look at how the pyramid is structured.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Looking at the pyramid, you’ll see that the need for self-actualization is right at the top. On the other hand, can the physiological needs of you customers be found at the bottom of the pyramid. Your customer’s most basic needs start at the bottom of the pyramid. As the needs are satisfied, your customer is motivated to seek the next level of need fulfillment. The need for safety and love/belonging and esteem make out the remainder of the hierarchy.

But will your customer satisfy her need for self-actualization when visiting your website? Maybe you should first recognise who the customers are that seek self-actualization needs…

Characteristics of customers seeking self-actualization (SA)

According to a study by Maslow, people who are looking to find self-actualization can be recognized as follows:

  • Realistic – SA persons have a more efficient perception of reality, they have comfortable relations with it. They are un-threatened and un-frightened by the unknown and have a superior ability to reason, to see the truth. Moreover, they are logical and efficient.
  • Acceptance – they accept themselves, others and the natural world the way they are. Furthermore do they see human nature as is, have a lack of crippling guilt or shame, and enjoy themselves without regret or apology. Also, they have no unnecessary inhibitions.
  • Spontaneity, Simplicity, Naturalness – spontaneous in their inner life, thoughts and impulses, they are unhampered by convention. Their ethics is autonomous, they are individuals, and are motivated to continual growth.
  • Problem Centring – they focus on problems outside themselves, centred on others. They have a mission in life requiring much energy, their mission is their reason for existence. And, they are serene, characterized by a lack of worry, and are devoted to duty.
  • Detachment: The Need for Privacy – SA people are alone but not lonely, unflappable, retain dignity amid confusion and personal misfortunes, objective. They are self-starters, responsible for themselves, own their behaviour.
  • Autonomy: Independent of Culture and Environment – SA’s rely on inner self for satisfaction. Stable in the face of hard knocks, they are self-contained, independent from love and respect.
  • Continued Freshness of Appreciation – they have a fresh rather than stereotyped appreciation of people and things. Appreciation of the basic good in life, moment to moment living is thrilling, transcending and spiritual. They live the present moment to the fullest.

According to Saul McLeod (Simply Psychology), Maslow estimated that only about two percent of people reaches self-actualization.


Gratefully, it’s not everyone that seeks and reaches self-actualization. However, if self-actualization seeking people subscribe to your website, or follow your business on social networks, then you may possess a niche audience.

All that’s left is to keep their attention and monetize their loyalty.


1 Maslow, A.H. 1943. A theory of human motivation, Psychological Review, 50(4):370.


  1. Wikipidia.org
  2. Pixabay

Pay-Per-Click Advertising – Getting the Keywords Right

Choosing the wrong keywords for your pay-per-click advertising marketing campaign will show little results and may cost retailers a lot of money. Keyword research is one of the most important tasks to do when retailers prepare for their pay-per-click campaigns on Google’s AdWords.

The way to be successful with pay-per-click has previously been discussed by this author: http://bricks2clicks.co.za/successful-pay-per-click-advertising/. Keywords will now be discussed in more detail.

How to find the right keyword(s)

Retailers need to understand their online customers and should try to get into their minds to find out what words they will type into the search engine box to find your brands or products. Another method to use is Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool.

Retailers may consider to choose negative keywords when using AdWords. They are the words you do not want your ads appearing for. Just about any ad that retailers are preparing for would benefit from negative keywords identification.

What have keywords to do with pay-per-click advertising?

Keywords are the bait that retailers use to lure prospective customers to their websites. Customers, on the other hand, use keywords to describe what they hope to find when performing an online search. Many retailers use Google AdWords, an advertising service by Google, to display their ads on Google and its advertising network.

AdWords works on a pay-per-click basis where the retailer bids on certain keywords or phrases. The retailer starts by choosing one or more keywords, a certain advertisement, and a bid value for the keyword(s) (i.e., maximum willingness to pay for a click) while competing against other advertisers.

When a customer enters a keyword in a search box, a keyword auction begins.

How much should retailers pay for keyword(s)?

Many retailers think that if they bid the highest on a certain keyword, they will get the best results. Although these retailer’s ads will be at the top of the first result page, their budgets will quickly run dry because of the high cost –per-click.

If retailers choose to bid lower for a specific keyword, their ads may appear lower on the result pages, but they show for a longer time.

Visit eBizplan for your digital marketing queries.

Finding Customers in the Vastness of the Internet

No business can exists without customers. However, finding customers on the internet can be a challenge for most Bricks and Clicks retailers. Once you know who your audience is, where they hang out online and what they respond best to, you can begin to market…

The vastness of the internet

Online advertising and the retailer’s website can be exposed to thousands of people around the world for little cost due to the vastness of the internet.

The challenge is to find to the customers online.

Steps to find customers online

Dean Brookstone proposes the following steps to find customers online:

  1. Register and set up your website/blog and ensure it’s optimized for mobile devices;
  2. Help customers to find you on Google by making use of a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy;
  3. Keyword research – find out what keywords or keyword phrases will attract customers to your website;
  4. Start a blog page for your retail business – writing blogs with great content will draw customers to your website;
  5. Use hyperlinks to grow your business – internal- and inbound links show Google which pages of your website are the most important. The links may also help to improve your page ranking;
  6. Introduce your retail business on the social network sites. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram are excellent platforms to find customers online;
  7. Use email campaigns to build relationships with people and to turn them into customers;
  8. Measure your progress with analytics to improve your business.

If you put all these steps together, you will find the customers that are seemingly lost in the vastness of the internet.

If you need help with your Digital Marketing campaign or Business Planning, please visit eBizplan.

Videos Useful Convincing Shoppers to Buy

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are online videos worth for retailers?

Bill Briggs recently reported in the Internet Retailer that shoppers who watch a video are 1.7 times more likely to buy something than those who don’t…

Seeing it in action is believing

Window shopping, about fifty years ago, was one of the most exciting things for me to do. So, on the rare occasions when visiting the city center with my mother, I would rush to the toy shop to see what’s on display.

I would press my face against the toy shop’s display window to be fascinated by the miniature trains going around on their circuits. By just watching the small trains in motion the sale could have been closed – however, it was fifty years ago…

Nowadays little kids can watch videos of dozens of makes and types of miniature train sets via the toy shop website, make a choice and click to buy at leisure to have it delivered on their doorsteps.

Videos are working for online retailers

According to Bill, video views on online retailer websites grow a massive 42% in 2015. The best videos are those that are relevant and demonstrating how the products work. Also, the videos that the customers rate the highest resulted in the most sales.

YouTube is after Google the most popular search engine used by online customers, with 3 billion searches a month.  Experts recommend that retailers use YouTube over social networks such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for demonstrating the products, because it is searchable.

Please visit my website www.ebizplan.co.za for assistance in creating business and marketing strategies for your online retail business.

Content Marketing Tips for Retailers

The quality and relevance of the content of a retailers’ webpages can mean the difference between a sale and a bounce. One of the main reasons that people use the internet is to get information about something.

Content, which is the information part of a website, is one of the ‘trade-offs’ that is used by retailers to attract customers to their sites. If it is good, the customers may make a purchases and visit the site again.

The value of good content

According to Drew Hubbard, writing in iMedia, content will only deliver value to a brand if it delivers value to the consumer and consumers are not ignorant of bias when it comes to content.

Drew suggests that consumers want information that is presented in an objective manner and based on documented facts – not a brand’s contorted version of those facts. The best content marketers do their research and cite their sources.

Answering the customers questions

The content of a retailer’s website should anticipate the questions that his/her potential customers will ask. The content should guide the reader to the answer the questions that he or she is seeking as concisely and clearly as possible.

To anticipate the answers that the customers require, retailers should think about the people they are communicating with. If retailers understand their audiences they will know what to write, how much to write, and what vocabulary to use.

Less is better than more

A great tip from Janice Redish is that you should remember that you are having a conversation with real people. Those people bring all of their previous experience and knowledge – and also their lack of experience and knowledge – to understanding what you are writing.

People surfing the web want to get to the answers they seek as quickly as possible therefore retailers need to avoid content that contain unnecessary information that may cause the readers to lose interest and bounce the page.

Visit eBizplan for eCommerce and Digital Marketing solutions.


Redish, J.G., 2007. Letting go of the words: Writing web content that works. Morgan Kaufmann.

Retail Customers use of Social Media Sites

Social media have created one of the most exciting and efficient opportunities for retailers to reach their customers. It also offer great opportunities for the owners of social media networking sites to get ‘pay per click’ income  when retailers post ads on the sites and visitors click on the ‘buy’ buttons to buy stuff.

That is why all popular social media networking sites such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter recently have added the ‘buy’ button to their sites. They did it to make online shopping easier for their users, and to make some money…

According to Anna Torres writing in the ChannelAdvisor, Twitter is backing off the easy-click purchase strategy. Maybe retail customers don’t like doing shopping on Twitter’s site?

How do retail customers use social media sites?

The customers of retailers visit specific social media sites for the following reasons:

  • Facebook – as of the first quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.65 billion monthly active users (Statista). So retail customers use Facebook because everyone else is using it.
  • Google Plus – is an interest-based social network that is owned and operated by Google Inc. Similar to Facebook, Google Plus allows customers to add events, invite people, and then share photos and media;
  • Instagram, owned by Facebook  is a free online photo sharing and social network platform. It is a fun and quirky way for people to share their life with friends through a series of pictures.
  • Pinterest was founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp. It is a visual bookmarking tool that helps customers to discover and save creative ideas.
  • Twitter, founded by Jack Dorsey – is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages. Fifty nine percent of Twitter users turn to the platform to catch up on news.

Retail customers use Twitter  differently compared to what they do with the other social media sites. By mainly reading, listening to and viewing the latest news, they seem to have less appetite for shopping, avoiding Twitter’s buy buttons…

Visit eBizplan for help in developing your online retail business.

Bricks and Clicks Retailers – the Best of Both Worlds

The way forward for retail is Bricks and Clicks. In an article earlier this year Justin Taylor head of EMEA retail trying to console Bricks and Mortar retailers said: “despite the impact of e-commerce, physical stores remain a cornerstone of consumer engagement”.

The question that remains to be answered is:  Why is online retail growing worldwide and, at the same time, Bricks and Mortar retailers that are not engaging their customers online are closing down?

Why do Bricks and Mortar retail customers shop online?

If Bricks and Mortar retailers are the cornerstone of customer engagement, then where have their customers gone to? The customers of Bricks and Mortar retailers probably left because they find online shopping to be more convenient:

  • They can shop 24/7 from anywhere;
  • They can get more information about products and services online;
  • They can go online to search for specific products and where to find them;
  • They can compare the prices of products online; and
  • They can share their experience online with friends, family and social communities.

In spite of the fast growth of online shopping, many retailers that are doing their business only online (Pure Clicks) are now starting to look for physical retail space.

Why are Pure Clicks retailers looking for Bricks and Mortar retail space?

It is not a simple matter of Bricks versus Clicks says Justin Taylor. Physical stores remain a hugely important part of the retailing mix as they offer the ability to interact with merchandise, instant gratification for consumers, personal service and professional guidance.

We have seen the migration from bricks to clicks, and the pattern in some instances is now heading the other way as brands born online are now seeking physical space. The answer is Bricks and Clicks retail shops that have both physical and online space. Bricks and Clicks retailers have the best of both worlds.

Integrating the physical with the online may pose a challenge for most retailers. eBizplan, a management consulting business can help retailers to run the physical and online business as one.

Retailers Biggest Challenge – Integrating Online with Offline

Retailers who are for years in business are using technology that is developed for running a physical shop (Bricks and Mortar) better and making shopping for their customers easier.  A study by Forrester Consulting found that although 90% of the UK retailers are now doing business online. However, most of them find it difficult to join their online and offline technology.

Only 26% of the retailers interviewed mentioned that their sales are influenced by the online channel.

Technology use by the customers of Bricks and Mortar retailers

Most of the customers of Bricks and Mortar retailers visit their website to get information about the inventory in the shop.  A recent study by Forrester Consulting,  found that 39% of customers are unlikely or very unlikely to visit a  store if its website does not provide physical store inventory information.

Only 32% of the shop owners that was interviewed offered a function on their websites for customers to view their in-store inventory details.

Customers want shopping convenience

The study indicated that half of all customers cited store pickup options as important or very important to them when shopping online. However, only a third of retailers today already support store-pickup programs.

Read also:  Will “Click and Collect” Solve the Delivery Headaches for Grocers?

The customers interviewed demanded the following:

  • Absolute guarantees that the product is actually available;
  • Rapid picking and notification alerts;
  • Customers want to pay at the point of pickup;
  • Customers want the option to pick their goods up at alternative locations.

In-store experience in the digital age

The customers are in power when they use their smartphones in the shop. They use their smartphones to check inventory availability before entering the store.  The customers also use their smartphones to get more information about the products  they are interested to buy.

Bricks and Clicks retailers need to be both masters of the store and of the digital domain.

eBizplan, an online consulting business, can help retailers to draft a strategic plan to integrate their offline and online business.

How to use LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service that is mainly used for professional networking.  LinkedIn has around 400 million acquired users in more than 200 countries and territories. The basic functionality of LinkedIn allows users (workers and employers) to create profiles and “connections” to each other in an online social network. Lasting professional relationships can so be created. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection.

According to iMedia Connection, LinkedIn Groups can be used as a marketing tool for connecting and communicating throughout the marketing industry. iMedia Connection suggests a number of ways that marketers can use LinkedIn Groups to their advantage.

Participate consistently with LinkedIn

Like anything else, you wouldn’t just run one ad for your new product or service. If you believe the improved LinkedIn groups are target-rich environments, then you need to focus your efforts to establish yourself as an authority. Make sure you are responding to articles from others and providing strong and objective feedback. Engage with the members and build your reputation within the group.

Networking with LinkedIn

LinkedIn groups can be used as a networking platform. However the groups are not ideal platforms to sell something from. Likewise, the groups are  not the place to pitch or acquire social contacts or email subscribers.

The best way to make use of LinkedIn groups is to use your time by engaging in conversation and building meaningful relationships.

Find great moderators

Marketers can use LinkedIn groups to their advantage by creating highly relevant groups that provide content of value. Active members who are posting interesting and helpful discussions separates a good group from a great group.  The success of a group depends of the how it is facilitated by its moderator.

Create valuable content

The content of group is of more value when it members participate frequently. Therefore, group members should take an active role in making the content on the groups more valuable. Importantly, new members will be attracted to the group and existing members will choose to stay. The members of the groups become more engaged and the content becomes more valuable since discussions aren’t as public.

Grab attention with images

The first question to answer is “What does your LinkedIn profile picture say about you?” A picture is worth a thousand words. It will take a fraction a a second for someone to draw conclusion about you by looking at your photo.

Try to create your own images. Also, grab attention with images as you do on other social streams, attract industry influencers and engage them with mentions, and get direct access to member’s inboxes with “highlight” emails.

Visit eBizplan for more on business plans and marketing plans.


How to Improve Your Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing provides twice the return on investment (ROI) relative to other forms of online marketing1.

Why should you practice email marketing?

Emails remain one of the best ways for retailers to communicate with their customers and many businesses see high conversion rates from emails they send from their internal mail lists. Email marketing is cheaper, it can carry more information and can be personalized more easily than print advertising.

Caitlin Palmieri in a recent presentation proposes three factors that can make or break your email marketing campaign:

1 What “clicks” with your email subscribers?

  • In today’s mobile-dominated world, simple and concise emails are working the best.
  • You need at least 5 to 7 clickable links in your email to start achieving click-throughs.
  • 20 lines of text and three or fewer images result in optimal email campaign click-through rates.

2 When is the best time to send emails to maximize open rates?

It depends on what industry you want to reach…

Monday 7am Tuesday 6am Wednesday 7am Thursday 12pm Friday 5am
Restaurants Accountants and financial advisers Hotels and Bed & Breakfast Inns Religious organisations Arts and crafts

3 Who are opening and reading your emails?

There is an email equivalent of the ‘Big Five” and you can rely on them to open and read your emails – 38% of all opens comes from 5% of all openers; and 51% of all opens comes from 10% of all openers.

The click-through rates percentage of the ‘Big Five’ equivalent is as follow: 33% of all click-throughs comes from 5% of clickers; and 44% of all click-throughs comes from % of clickers.

Take another look at your e-mail campaigns and see if your click-through rates increase when using these three factors.

Visit eBizplan for business plans and marketing plans.

1 Pavlov, O.V., Melville, N.and Plice, R.K. 2008. Toward a sustainable e-mail marketing infrastructure, Journal of Business Research, 61:1191–1199.