You’re standing in a crowd and everybody looks up – what do you do?
It’s dinner time in a new town. Do you go to the restaurant at near capacity or do you go to the place that looks like it hasn’t had a customer in days?
The human decision making process might seem complex but in many cases it’s little more than monkey see, monkey do.
Afterall, life can be stressful and complex and our job as an online retailer to ease the minds of our worried customers. This is done by establishing social proof and perceived value.
In a brick & mortar situation, having a parking lot full of customers or a long checkout line create the instant perception of social validation (and also have obvious downsides). One of the challenges in running an online store, particularly with a new store, is in creating the same type of effect. Presenting your website visitors with live sales notification popups / overlays is one of the ways to do this.
Increase Online Vapor Store Sales With Social Proof
‘Live’ sales notifications on your website allow your visitors to see a highlighted popup showcasing sales that have taken place on your website. Depending on the eCommerce platform you are using, these can be configured to appear as live sales or they can state when the sales actually took place.
Humans are creatures of habit so the fact that you have a new visitor on your website means you have done something right. Sales notifications are a great tool to use in easing the visitor’s mind and easily converting them into a customer.
Below you will find the most widely used vape shop eCommerce platforms along with the best app, widget, or add on to implement a live sales feed on your website. With the exception of Wix and Volusion, there are pre-built applications which can be purchased and implemented on your website easily and relatively inexpensively.
Best ‘Recently Purchased’ Visitor Popup / Overlay Solutions for the Top eCommerce Platforms
|Shopify||Sales Pop||Free||1 License, Updates, Support||Shopify Apps|
|BigCommerce||Fomo||$29/mo (7 Day Free Trial)||1 License, Updates, Support||BigCommerce Apps|
|Volusion||Custom Development Needed||Volusion.com|
|AppZab||$22||1 License, Future Updates, 6 Months of Support||AppZab – Envato Market|
|Magento||Activity Stream||$154||1 License, Installation, Updates, 90 Days of Support||Activity Stream for Magento|
|Squarespace||Fomo (Can be used on various platforms)||$19.99/mo||1 License for 1 Website, Forum Support, 3 Message Templates, 20,000 notifications / month||Fomo|
(fake notifications only)
|$15||1 License, 7 Display Templates to||Sales Accelerator – Impulse|
Most of the solutions for each platform go about displaying the recent transactions as a live sales feed in a very similar manner, with a small popup / overlay box in one of the corners of your visitor’s browser. However, a few of these do not have ‘out of the box solutions available’ and some troubleshooting may be involved to get recent sales notifications up and running on your website.
Shopify is the only eCommerce platform mentioned that has a free solution for displaying ‘recently purchased’ notifications. However, if you are thinking about using Shopify for your online vape shop (and are not already using it) be sure to take into consideration that Shopify requires stores selling vapor products to use a third-party payment processor. This is not much of a hurdle compared to the other platforms, as most of the others do not come with payment processing included in their packages. One of Shopify’s most attractive attributes is the fact that it comes as an ‘all in one’ online shop solution, but this is not the case for online vape shops.
Volusion, Opencart, and Wix do not have out of the box solutions in the same way the others do.
I spoke with a representative from Volusion about the possibility of their platform integrating with Fomo and they explained that it could possbily work but since Fomo is not an official Volusion integration partner, Volusion would not support any issues which arise as a result of using Fomo on your website. In other words, use at your own risk. Volusion’s suggested solution was to hire a Volusion developer to create a custom solution for your website.
Opencart does not have a solution that uses real data and is also the only platform (that I found) which has a solution to use fake sales notification data. The risk of setting this up improperly is that you might end up showing visitors the same sales notifications when they visit your website on different occasions, which is likely to come across as very suspicious. You will want to carefully consider how you plan to go about setting up the Sales Accelerator – Impulse Purchase Notifications on your Opencart website, if you choose to do so. Of course, you can also hire a developer to create a custom solution for you.
Wix is different than all of the others as they are the only platform that does not have actual human support that you can communicate with to receive live assistance. instead they refer all calls and website inquiries to their support documentation and forum. Again, Fomo may have an integration to use with Wix but it is not one of the official Wix integrations. If you use the Wix eCommerce Platform on your website you will want to check with Fomo to see what they suggest for integrating their sales notification platform into your website.
There are several things which should be taken into consideration to ensure the privacy of your customers and to protect the overall authenticity of your brand when utilizing recently purchased notifications on your website. Below is a glmpse of Appzab’s live sales notifications for Woocommerce settings (and this is ½ of the first of 3 pages).
Should I include full names, location details, or transaction amounts in my website’s sales notifications?
Although these notifications do not implicitly say that the sales being displayed are happening at that exact moment, they do imply that this is the case and are designed to give this effect to your website’s visitors.
While including additional details such as names and cities may make the transactions appear more legitimate, they may also work against you as your customers may not want their first name, last name, city and state displayed for other shoppers on your website. Plus, the more information you include, the more likely a shopper will notice one of their own purchases and get the feeling that you are doing something deceitful.
It’s important to be personally clear about the fact that displaying hints of recent sales on your website is not a deceitful practice, although it could appear this way to your customer if these notifications are not set up properly.
To avoid this happening, I recommend removing any specific information pertaining to the customer. The only exception might possibly be if your site is conducting a very high volume of transactions, in which a first name and city might be appropriate, as your returning customers are much less likely to see repeat information or notice their own sales.
In the image below, you will see Appzab’s live sales notifications, which displays on one of my client’s Woocommerce stores. You can see these notifications on their live website at SubOhmLabs.com.
In this specific case, I recommended that we exclude the names and cities of the displayed transactions as many of their customers buy on a frequent basis and many also return to the website shortly after placing an order for tracking information,etc.
A lot of work goes into acquiring a new customer and, in my opinion, it is not worth risking your perceived credibility to possibly get a few more sales.
In terms of dollar amounts, I personally advise against including this information on the notification. Not only do I personally feel like it’s a bit tacky to include the dollar amounts, but if you have coupons or promos which only certain people have access to, it might make people wonder why they are not able to get the same pricing. It also increases the likelihood that an individual would recognize their own sale if it was shown to them on a returning visit.
How Often Should Notifications be Displayed to Visitors and How Many Should I Display?
The answer to this depends entirely on the sales volume you have on your website. This is due to the fact that websites with less transactions will be more likely to display transactions that are obviously not legitimate.
For websites with less than 5-10 transactions per day, I would only show notifications every 20-30 seconds and only show 2-3 max.
Websites that have 5-20 transactions per day could likely get away with notifications every 15 seconds or so, showing 4-5 total.
If your website averages 50-100+ transactions per day, you can get away with quite a bit more but I wouldn’t advise showing notifications less than every 10-15 seconds as you don’t want to annoy your shoppers.
Below are some general recommendation in terms of settings to use in your online vape shop’s sales notifications. Keep in mind, these are only suggestions. You might find that including more details works better for you or you might find that it hurts your sales. I suggest trying new settings for a few days while closely tracking your visitor behavior to see what works best for you. If you need assistance with this, please feel free to reach out to me.
Recommended Notification Settings Based Upon Transaction Volume / Day
(Yes = Include in Notifications | No = Do Not Include in Notifications)
Average Transactions / Day
|First Name||Last Name||City||Items Purchased||$ Amount||Frequency|
Total Notifications Displayed
|Less Than 5-10||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Every 20-30 Seconds||2-3 Max|
|5-20||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Every 20 – 25 Seconds||4-5 Max|
|50-100+||Yes||If you prefer, but only if customer has the option to opt out.||Yes||Yes||Try it to see how it affects your sales. It’s not likely to make a big difference either way.||Every 15-20 Seconds||10-15 Max|
I recommend turning off mobile notifications, regardless of your transaction volume, as notifications on mobile devices are only likely to frustrate your shoppers and get in the way of them making a purchase.
While recently purchased notifications have the potential to be a very powerful tool to establish social validation and increase your online vape shop sales, they can also work against you if you fail to consider how the notifications will be perceived by your potential or returning customers.
If you have questions regarding your specific eCommerce platform, establishing live sales notifications, means of increasing sales, streamlining your shipping workflow, etc… please feel free to visit my website, FogPusher.com, reach out to me. I’ve worked in a variety of capacities in the vapor industry ranging from being a business development / marketing manager for a one of the larger hardware wholesalers (at that time) and over the past couple years I have helped hundreds of vape shop owners, wholesalers, and eLiquid companies grow their businesses using online and offline marketing strategies.
FogPusher.com Modern Web Design & Marketing Solutions
Jesse is the Digital Marketing Director at VapeMentors and Chief Technology Mentor. He is an ecommerce and internet marketing expert with a background in business and technology.