As a local web developer and search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, Tom Cruz of Wilmington realized that although his e-commerce clients were receiving plenty of visitor traffic on their sites, comparatively few were buying products or asking questions.
Six months ago, he decided to try and meet this need among the growing number of e-retailers in the region by founding EtailPro, a new company dedicated to conversion rate optimization (CRO) for e-commerce sites.
“My developer and I came up with a solution to help turn those visitors into people who buy products,” Cruz said.
EtailPro focuses on creating custom pop-ups asking visitors to continue to engage with the business before they exit the website, requesting feedback and offering discounts on purchases.
“We power those pop-ups,” Cruz said. “If the person hasn’t purchased anything, our software will catch them at the right moment, asking them to buy right then and there.”
EtailPro offers three customer packages based on the number of each site’s visitors: $1,000 per month, $2,000 per month and “custom” for those with more than 100,000 unique visitors.
Options for clients include mobile/ tablet pop-ups, full-screen overlays, floating bars, reminder bars and even “play-to-win” overlays allowing visitors to play a quick virtual game to win a prize.
Pop-ups, which can suffer a bad rap from some annoyed web users. The firm focuses on exit pop-ups, which catch people as they are about to leave the site, calling them a “more polite” way to continue engagement. Cruz said he got into the niche based on prior experiences dealing with pop-ups.
“My previous marketing company used pop-up plugins with our clients, and we were always frustrated with their limited functionality,” he said. “So we decided to build our own platform, and then I hired a team of people to help implement on our clients websites.”
Cruz said the company has grown steadily since its founding and employs eight full-time staffers.
He is in the process of locating larger office space to allow remote employees to work on-site and provide a more collaborative environment.
With e-commerce programs like Shopify allowing more people to create e-retail sites easier and quicker than ever before, the number of online businesses will most likely continue to increase, Cruz said.
Cruz is a 2010 graduate of University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Cameron School of Business with a degree in finance.
He said he plans to stay in the community long-term, growing EtailPro and expanding its reach.
With his knowledge and experience, Cruz has plenty of advice for anyone thinking about starting an online retail business. He says engaging with social media is the key to getting the business off the ground.
“Most importantly,” Cruz said, “build a strong presence on Facebook and Instagram.”
With a community of followers, an entrepreneur can then build interest in their product with a website or blog, followed by paid advertising using Adwords or other services.
“Social media is definitely the way to go,” he said.