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Marketing online during COVID-19

Marketing online during COVID-19

To read more about how to be found by local shoppers, click here. 

How easy is it for customers to find you online?

When you open an online store, attracting traffic or site visitors is very different from attracting foot traffic to your physical store. In fact, it can be even harder for shoppers to find you because there isn’t an equivalent to “street traffic” online. If you have a new online store that does not rank online in search results, would-be shoppers would need to know the exact website address to be able to find you.

This is why it’s common for a new web store to receive very little traffic in the beginning without any marketing. This is particularly true with brick and mortar first retailers as established stores often start online stores as secondary channels or even just as online catalogues. And even though the current COVID-19 crisis has driven many shoppers online, being found is still an issue when your web store is new. In order to get regular customers and traffic to your site, it’s going to take some effort on your part to promote and market your online shop.

Below you’ll find some easy and cost-effective ways to start promoting your online store to both new and existing customers.


6 tips to increase online presence

  1. Adding live chat to your website
  2. Using automated email campaigns
  3. FREE Google Shopping listings
  4. Selling on Facebook and Instagram
  5. Retargeting ads
  6. Optimizing the checkout process

How to drive more e-commerce sales

Facebook Messenger
Live chat on a website

1. Adding live chat to your website

Adding live chat to your online store allows you to chat directly with your website visitors in real-time. It’s a must-have tool for any online retailer as it’s one of the best ways to answer customer questions right when they are on your site and encourage immediate sales. 

Instant messenger applications such as Facebook Messenger make it easy for retailers to add live chat to their site and take advantage of its many benefits. After all, millions of people already communicate through Facebook Messenger daily, presenting a huge market for retailers to tap into. Additionally, many e-commerce software providers (including TAKU eCommerce) offer direct integrations to Facebook Messenger – for free!

Click here to find out more about adding live chat to your TAKU online store. 

The following are some of the ways your business can benefit from adding live chat to your website: 

  • Reduced expenses: Traditional customer service and support teams usually operate via phone. But this can be costly – in terms of costs per employee and toll charges. For smaller retailers especially, a free live chat platform such as Facebook Messenger can help reduce costs substantially. 
  • Increased sales: According to a study done by CrazyEgg, 38% of customers are more likely to buy from a company that offers live chat support. 
  • Improved customer service and loyalty: Customers appreciate having access to live chat support as it leads to faster problem resolution and improved customer service. Live chat also results in more loyal customers; 51% of shoppers are more likely to stay with or buy again from a company if they offer live chat support. Even if your live chat is not available 24/7, shoppers are increasingly comfortable asking “chatbots” for help after hours to find information or to send a message to the team.
Automated abandoned cart email

2. Using automated email campaigns

Email marketing continues to be one of the highest performing marketing channels in terms of return on investment (ROI). According to Hubspot, email generates $38 for every $1 spent, resulting in an outstanding 3,800% ROI

As a retailer selling online, the best way to gain subscribers and have your emails stand out is to use email automation. For those not familiar with email automation, these are marketing tools that allow you to send out targeted messages at certain times or based on specific actions. For example, you can create email campaigns that automatically remind customers of the products they were interested in, encourage shoppers to buy products that they added to their online shopping carts but didn’t purchase (automated abandoned cart emails), or simply thank them for being loyal customers. 

Basically, automated email campaigns give you the ability to use analytics to create an individualized email for each of your customers. And the benefits are numerous; you can encourage the first purchase, increase loyalty and drive repeat purchases, and re-engage inactive customers. As a result, you build personalized relationships with customers while increasing your revenue. 

Google Shopping
Google Shopping Listings

3. FREE Google Shopping listings 

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Google just recently announced the launch of unpaid Product Listings. Beginning on April 27th, 2020, U.S. retailers will be able to sell on Google for free with Google Shopping. While it will initially launch in the States only, Google does have plans to expand this globally before the end of year. Click here to learn more. 

Google Shopping Ads have proven to be one of the most effective ways to drive e-commerce sales. The ads appear above organic search results in Google and consist of a product image, rating, price, and store information. To learn more about Google Shopping, click here.

They have become a popular option for many ecommerce merchants and for good reason; they have a 30% higher conversion rate compared to text only ads. Below are some of the key benefits of Google Shopping:

  • Attract better store traffic: product ads are displayed based on the keywords a user searches for. For example, if a user conducts a search for “pet food”, Product Listings of pet stores will be shown. If a user isn’t interested in your products, your ads won’t be displayed – which brings us to the next point. 
  • Higher ROI: Google Product Listings have a higher conversion rate due to the fact that they drive relevant traffic. This means more relevant traffic to your online store at a lower cost per click. 
  • Stand out: Google Product Listings instantly grab the attention of users as they are the only ads in search results that contain photos.  
  • Broad reach: Multiple products can appear under a single search which means more exposure for your store and products.
Instagram Shop
An example of an Instagram shop

4. Selling on Facebook and Instagram 

Facebook and Instagram remain the most popular social media platforms with both applications amassing billions of daily active users. Taking advantage of the popularity of both social media channels can help you reach new customers and sell more. 

Think about it this way: your customers are already on social media. Adding a way for them to browse and purchase your products directly on each platform gives your brand increased visibility. And it makes it easier for shoppers to buy your products –  all they have to do is click on the “Shop” or “Store” tab to view your products. 

It takes just a few clicks to start selling on Facebook or Instagram with TAKU eCommerce. Click here to learn more. 

The following are some ways you can drive more traffic to your store with Facebook Shop: 

  • List store details such as your store address, phone, website, temporary service changes etc. This makes your business more accessible because it makes it easier for potential shoppers to find your business when they search Facebook. 
  • Share content about your online store including special offers, new products, contests etc. 
  • Use Facebook Ads to target a specific type of shopper, build brand loyalty, and increase your online sales. 

Follow these tips to sell more on Instagram: 

  • 60% of Instagram users rely on the platform to find products so make sure to use high quality product photos
  • Take advantage of user-generated content (customer photos). Let your customers serve as your best billboards and encourage shoppers to tag your brand with photos of their latest purchases.
  • Use Instagram Ads such as Stories and Carousels to target customers shopping on Instagram. 
Facebook Retargeting Ad
An example of a Facebook Retargeting Ad

5. Retargeting Ads 

Retargeting ads are effective at re-engaging customers who haven’t purchased on their previous visit to your online store. In fact, shoppers who see retargeting ads are 70% more likely to convert.

Basically, retargeting is a form of online advertising that targets users based on their past behavior on your website. Chances are, you’ve been exposed to retargeting ads yourself at one point or another. For example, after browsing through some clothes online you may have noticed ads popping up on your social media advertising the specific clothes and store you were just viewing.

Retargeting ads are very effective at encouraging shoppers to “finish” their sale and generally cost less than regular social media ads. But it’s important to remember that they are only effective if you are already receiving a reasonable amount of website traffic as they will only be able target people who have already visited your online store.

The most popular methods of retargeting include using the Facebook pixel or Google Adwords. The Facebook pixel is essentially a small software code that “follows” your customers as they browse your online store and allows Facebook to advertise to them after. 

You can start retargeting in minutes with TAKU eCommerce’s built-in integration with the Facebook pixel. Alternatively, you can download the retargeting app for Google and Facebook. Learn more here.

If you prefer to target customers using Google Adwords, you must add Google Analytics to your store and connect it with your Google Adwords account. Learn more here.

Remember: When you use remarketing strategies, you are collecting extra information about your site visitors and customers, which means you must update your privacy policy. 

Optimize the online checkout process

6. Optimize the checkout process

Retailers who are looking for ways to increase their online revenue often overlook the importance of checkout optimization. But in order to reduce checkout abandonment and improve your conversion rate, it’s important to create the best checkout experience possible. 

The following are some ways to create the optimal e-commerce checkout experience: 

  • Optimize the checkout experience for mobile: The majority of online shopping is done on mobile devices. When you are developing your layout, ensure your design is mobile-responsive. If you are not design or tech savvy, consider choosing an e-commerce provider with premade layouts. All of TAKU eCommerce’s pre-made themes are mobile-friendly but whatever platform you are using, make sure to always check your website on every device (desktop, tablet, mobile) once it’s published to make sure everything is re-sizing correctly.
  • Add custom messages at checkout: Display any important information to your customers at checkout. For example, you can draw your customers’ attention to special offers, remind them of your shipping/return policies, remind them that they will receive an email confirmation, etc. 
  • Be transparent about costs: Unexpected costs are the number one cause of cart abandonment in the online shopping world. Make sure to provide as many details as possible by including a subtotal, shipping fees, applicable taxes, and a final order total.

We hope you found this article helpful.

Keep an eye out on our blog for more e-commerce marketing tips and strategies.

In the meantime, learn more about how you grow your retail business online with TAKU eCommerce.

How to be Found by Local Shoppers During COVID-19

How to be Found by Local Shoppers During COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has been traumatic for merchants and shoppers alike. With so many cities, regions and countries under lockdown, normal shopping routines have been disrupted. Many small businesses have adapted to offer alternative ways to shop from phone or chat orders to full online stores with curbside pickup and delivery.

Here are a few steps you can take to make sure local shoppers are aware that you’re open and let them know how they can support your business.

1. Update your Existing Customers by Email

If you’ve been collecting customer emails or regularly send out email newsletters, make sure to update your customers about updated store hours and new ordering methods. Email is often the easiest way in which to quickly communicate with your most loyal customers. Make sure to use an email marketing tool such as MailChimp so that customers can unsubscribe as required by privacy regulations.

2. Update your Google My Business (GMB) profile

One of the easiest and most effective ways you can communicate with your customers is by updating your Google My Business profile and other popular online local directory listings.

At a time like this, your customers are looking for updated information on your business operations. Google and Google Maps are often the first place that shoppers go to look for this information and so, your GMB profile needs to be accurate. 

For example, if your hours of operation have changed, you are temporarily closed, or are offering curbside pickup, you can update your GMB profile to reflect these changes. 

Here are a fews tips for providing the most accurate information to your customers: 

  • Let people know if you have changed your services (e.g. if you are now selling products online through ecommerce or marketplaces, offering curbside pickup etc.)
  • If you are able to sell online, make sure you link your GMB profile directly to your online store to avoid shoppers missing your products.
  • Update your business hours & ensure phone number accuracy 
  • Share any precautions your business is taking (in relation to cleaning and sanitizing products, new procedures, employee policies) 
  • Stay connected to your customers by downloading the Google My Business app and turning on messaging. This way, it will be easier for customers to reach you. 

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Google My Business has also released new features to help merchants communicate with their shoppers about updates pertaining to their businesses. These updates include:

  • The ability to mark a business or location as temporarily closed
  • You can add COVID-19 updates via GMB Posts in order to share timely updates about how your business is responding to the outbreak. Google has even created a tool for you to create free customized marketing materials. If you already have a verified Google My Business account, just visit https://marketingkit.withgoogle.com/ and type in your store name and easily customize the designs.
  • While it does not pertain to retailers, restaurants and quick service businesses can also specify new attributes such as takeout, dine-in, and delivery.
GMB Curbside Pickup

3. Get Added to Local Directory Listings 

Other local directory listings also provide important information about your business to potential customers. Simply put, adding your business and maintaining updated listings in as many directories as possible will make it easier for customers to find you online. 

So if you haven’t already, consider adding your business to the following online directories: 

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve developed Support Retail as a free tool to help connect local businesses to shoppers in the area who are looking for products that their business sells.

Getting listed on these directories helps your business increase your rankings in search results and reach more local shoppers. And the best part is that most of them are free to use and they generally only require a few steps to get set up!

shopper searching online

4. Update your Social Media 

Social media is one of the most useful channels for communicating and connecting with shoppers. Sending customers constant updates via email or SMS can backfire during these stressful times, whereas social media has proven to be much more accessible. Leveraging social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is key to a good communications strategy. 

Here are a few recommendations when it comes to communicating with shoppers via social media:

Update your store on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to let shoppers know how your services have changed. This includes updating your store hours, contact details, and how your business is responding to the current climate.

Make sure to link the Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages for your business directly to your online store as you want shoppers to land directly in your webstore and see products when they click through.

As you can see below, Facebook has also added a special feature that allows business owners to specify how their services have changed in response to COVID-19.

  • Update your store’s Facebook Page to let shoppers know how your services have changed. This includes updating your store hours, contact details, and how your business is responding to the current climate. As you can see below, Facebook has added a feature that allows business owners to specify how their services have changed in response to COVID-19.
Facebook COVID-19 Update
  • Share credible and relevant information: There are a few things that customers want to know right now. Is your store still open? If not, are you taking orders via e-commerce?  How can they contact customer support? What measures are you taking to protect your employees? How are you supporting your local community? What can your local community do to serve you?
  • Help uplift your community and customers: In addition to keeping your customers updated, be helpful and courteous. Remember, the way you respond to this crisis is a reflection of your brand and company values. Your social posts and promotions need to reflect what is going on in the world right now. Otherwise, you risk coming across as tone-deaf or less credible.

5. Update your Website 

Think of your homepage as a digital storefront. Your customers will use your homepage to find any promotions, navigate to product pages, find updates about your business etc. 

Remember: If you are using the TAKU eCommerce WordPress plugin, you will need to link your e-commerce store to your existing navigation menu. Otherwise, your customers will not be able to get to your webstore from your website menu.

Consider having a banner or a section on your homepage that shares important information and updates about how you are responding to the current situation. For example, let shoppers know that you are offering curbside pickup or delivery options, updated customer service contact information, how customers can support you by purchasing gift cards, etc.

Note: Make sure to keep the most up-to-date information at the top of your message as you add new features and remove any outdated information. Customers may be shopping online and may not scroll to see messages further down the page.

Homepage example

6. Do a quick online search

Once you’re published, make sure you do a quick online search of your store to see how you rank in the search results and to make sure all of your links are updated. If you have any old or outdated links that have permanently changed, you can look into doing 301 redirects to get them automatically directed to the new URL addresses. If you’re not familiar with 301 redirects, you can ask your website administrator to assist.


While your physical doors may be closed, that doesn’t mean you can’t be open for business. You can still serve your customers by shifting your business online and offering curbside pickup and delivery options. To help you make the transition, TAKU eCommerce is offering a free trial until July 1st, 2020. Click here to learn more.


We hope you found this article helpful.

Keep an eye out on our blog for more e-commerce tips.

For more information on TAKU eCommerce, click here.

How to Set Up Curbside Pickup on TAKU eCommerce

How to Set Up Curbside Pickup on TAKU eCommerce

Due to the spread of COVID-19, many small business owners and brick & mortar retailers have been forced to close their doors. Here at TAKU Retail, we’re responding quickly with tips and new product features that will help retail owners navigate through these difficult times.

This quick tutorial will go over how you can continue to sell safely and conveniently by offering scheduled curbside pickup, even when your physical store is closed.

What is “curbside pickup” or “Buy Online Pickup In Store (BOPIS)”?

Curbside pickup or BOPIS allows shoppers to purchase products online and come to your storefront to pick the items up. This option can benefit your business in a number of ways: 

  • Minimizes human interaction by eliminating the need for checkout inside the store
  • Avoids the risk of no-shows as customers have already paid in advance
  • Eliminates the need to buy packaging materials, the time and labor required to pack orders and any shipping fees
  • Minimizes the labor and time needed to process orders manually
  • Extends your “shop hours” as you can take orders 24/7 online without shoppers needing to wait to get through to somebody to take their orders.
  • Allows for better staff management, particularly with scheduled pickup, as you can see exactly when customers are expected and when orders need to be prepared.

How to set up scheduled pickup in TAKU eCommerce

In order to set up scheduled curbside pickup in your TAKU eCommerce store, follow these steps: 

  1. From your TAKU eCommerce dashboard, click on “Shipping & Pickup” 
  2. Scroll down to the “Add a new shipping method” section. 
  3. Click “+ Add Pickup” beside “Self Pickup” 
Adding a curbside pickup option

4. Set a name for the pickup option – your customers will see this name at checkout.

Give your pickup option a name

5. Add “Detailed instructions for customers”. This is where you would describe how, where, and when customers can pick up their orders. Keep the instructions as simple as possible and remember to add your phone number so shoppers can call you when they arrive. You may also want to place a sign on your front door with pickup instructions and your phone number in case a customer arrives unexpectedly.

Add pickup instructions

For example: 

Pickup location: Demostore, 3600 Steeles Avenue East, Markham Ontario, L3R 9Z7, Ontario, Canada

Open: 9AM – 6PM Mon-Fri

Please pull up to the front of the store or the designated parking spot. Please show us a copy of your invoice through your car window and one of our employees will place your order in your car trunk. Please stay inside your vehicle.

Note: If you would like to require your customers to leave their phone number at checkout, please follow these steps: 

1. Go to your store dashboard

2. Hover over “Settings” under “Configuration” 

3. Click on “General” 

4. Click on “Cart & Checkout” at the top of the page

5. Scroll down and enable “Require phone number at checkout

6. Optional step: enable the “Ask for pickup date and time at checkout” if you would like your customers to specify when they are going to pick up their orders.

Once you enable this feature, they will be required to set a pickup date and time when they place the order. To use this feature, you must specify your business hours (the days and times that you are open throughout the week) during the setup process. 

7. You must also set your order fulfillment time. This refers to the amount of time it takes for you to prepare an order for pickup. The application will take your fulfillment time into consideration when offering pickup dates and times to your customers (e.g. if you need 24 hours to prepare an order, your customer will only be offered time slots (based on your business hours) starting at least 24 hours after the time of your order.)

Enabling pickup times

8. If you have multiple pickup locations, repeat the steps above for each.

What does your customer see during online checkout?

Online customer checkout screen
Customer Checkout Screen

We hope you found this article helpful. Keep an eye out on our blog for more e-commerce tips and tutorials.

To learn more about TAKU eCommerce, click here.