2017 Strategy + Innovation

Concrete Principles on How to GROW your BUSINESS.

ideas | strategies | channels | targets | customers

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Getting your Ecommerce Store Ready for the Holidays

The holiday season is an extremely hectic time for ecommerce companies which is why it’s essential to get an early start on planning well before the pandemonium starts.
A 2014 study by Statista showed that nearly 20% of annual retail sales can be attributed to the holiday season and as much as 30% of an individual retailer’s total revenue. With consumers consistently spending more money every year, you’ll want to ensure that your company is well-prepared to capitalize on as much of that market share as possible.

From Black Friday until Christmas, ecommerce revenue can increase anywhere from 50% to 100% above normal, with peak earnings usually occurring near the end of November. While Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Green Monday (the second Monday in December) are the most profitable dates in North America, there are other notable dates you’ll want to be mindful of as well, like Singles Day or Diwali, if you sell globally.
So with that in mind, here’s how you can maximize on holiday conversions this year.

1. Speed Wins the Race

The first thing you’ll need to be prepared for is a higher volume of traffic on your website. More people visiting your website or product pages can cause server latency, slowing load times. While a few extra seconds might not seem like a big deal, it makes a big difference in ecommerce. If a website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you could lose up to 40% of your potential buyers.
Use Google Analytics to see what your holiday traffic looked like a year ago and make the necessary adjustments with your IT team to ensure your digital infrastructure is durable enough to withstand the pressure.

2. Go Mobile or Go Home

Chances are, this isn’t the first time you’ve heard about the importance of providing a great mobile experience. But there’s a good reason why it’s being talked about so much. In 2015, mobile commerce was responsible for nearly $13B of holiday ecommerce revenue. Year-over-year, the growth of desktop purchases has been slowing down while mobile has been accelerating. Plus, consumers are using mobile devices to research products and services, and it won’t take long for them to bounce to one of your competitors if their experience isn’t quick and easy.

3. Tell Them a Fireside Story

If you haven’t added content marketing to your bag-of-tricks, the holidays are a great time to do so. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional ads, and it generates triple the amount of leads.
Though a broad term, content marketing involves videos, images or written-text to reach, engage and provide value to customers. The more of these elements you can leverage, the better — it can give your SEO rankings and social engagement a boost which, in turn, enhances your brand awareness and social proof.
There are a variety of ways you can put a holiday spin on your blog, social channels and email campaigns. Gift guides, last-minute shopping ideas, winter tips, year-in-reviews or even a holiday message from your CEO or founder can spark positive emotions with your audience, compelling more people to choose your brand over the competition.
The more styles and channels you can leverage, the higher your reach will be. If you need additional inspiration, here are 100 content ideas courtesy of Social Media Today.

4. Reward & Profit

Ecommerce is competitive, so you shouldn’t be pulling any punches. If you don’t have a loyalty program, now is a good time to implement one. The chances of selling to a new customer is between 5% — 20% whereas the probability of selling to a previous one is 60% — 70%. Not to mention the fact that 87% of your shoppers want you to have one.

5. Unleash the Emails

Don’t be shy with email marketing this holiday season to keep your products top of mind. Depending on your customers, use your content marketing pieces or let your offers do the talking.
Cart abandonment emails are critical too. Seventy-five percent of the peoplewho abandon their purchases initially had the intent to buy, so a follow-up email might be exactly the nudge they need to finish what they started. If that’s not enough to convince you to ramp up the emails, consider this: a third of your customers will complete their purchase if prompted by an email.

6. Take it Personally

Personalization has been a major ecommerce trend over the past couple years, to the point where consumers are now expecting it.
Ecommerce companies need to make every effort to ensure that relevant product recommendations are being made based on the previous buying habits of each individual customer, especially during the holidays!

7. Embrace the Chatter

When the holiday blitz begins, customers are going reach out to you for information in their preferred way. Expect more phone calls, email inquiries, messages on your social channels and chat requests.
Monitoring as many of these channels as possible can make a huge difference. If you can’t allocate the resources to provide a quick response 24/7, clearly state the hours or the response time in which customers can expect to hear back from you. An eConsultancy report revealed that 83% of customers required some kind of support while buying online, so don’t let your inquiries fall on deaf ears.

8. Lock it Up

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the matter of your website’s security. An increase in sales likely won’t be the only thing you encounter over the holidays. In 2015, one out of every 67 digital transactions was fraudulent. Moreover, from Thanksgiving to December 31st, that activity increases by 8%with significantly large spikes taking place on Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
To mitigate charge backs resulting from “friendly fraud,” ensure that your company’s contact information is clear and concise, especially on invoices. The easier it is for your customer to contact you, the less likely they’ll be to call their payment provider to have their payment reversed.
Additionally, contacting your customers to confirm larger purchases (or any purchases that may be raising red flags) and consulting with your compliance team to make sure prevention techniques are optimal will keep your naughty list to a minimum.

Don’t Make It a Stressful Time of Year

The holidays should be a joyous time for both ecommerce customers and merchants. With nearly $70 billion in sales in 2015 in the U.S. alone, online sales are only expected to grow as consumers become more comfortable shopping online and digital experiences continue to improve. By planning early and leveraging some of these tactics, you’ll be in a strong position to drive home as many conversions as possible and grow revenue, giving you more reason to celebrate and be merry!
originally posted AUGUST 29, 2016 on paymotion

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

7 Facts to consider for marketing: Desktop vs. Mobile

Mobile marketing has today become one of the most convenient ways to reaching the end consumer. It is effective and convenient for both the marketer and the consumer. On the other hand, however, desktop marketing also has some distinct pros. The desktop has features that are not available on mobile and vice versa. 

Average Conversion Rate
The average conversion rate is the number of conversions per click on average. This figure is determined by calculating the number of conversions per ad click then noted down as a percentage. Average Conversion Rate for Desktop is much more than on mobile. "websitebuilder.com" informs us that desktops have a conversion rate of 2.06% while mobile has a rate of 0.55%. A high conversion rate reflects more sales from the advertising means used.

CTR (Paid Research)
A click-through rate is the average number of times your ad is clicked over the number of times your ad is displayed. Desktops have a click-through rate on 2.1 and mobile phones 2.7. A high click-through rate indicates that your customers find your advertisement useful. Having an ascending trend of the click-through rate will have a positive impact on your business. 

Average Revenue per visit
This figure is arrived at by dividing the total revenue by the total number of visits to your web page. $4.11 is the average revenue per visit on the desktop, and  $0.87 is the average revenue per visit on mobile. 
A higher revenue per visit relates to higher profits and a faster growth from competitors. 

CPM refers to the cost per thousand impressions. It is used by e-commerce in their display ads and the affiliate-related businesses. Websitebuilder.org states that 10.4% is the cost incurred on desktops and 12.4% is spent on mobile. Businesses strive to reduce their costs to increase their net profit. A reduced CPM will translate positively on the balance sheets. 

Internet Usage
Customers spent more time on the internet from their phones than on desktops. The difference is however not so great. Websitebuilder.com informs us that the rate of internet usage on the phone is 51.3% and on the desktop is 48.7%. A business can use either platform to display their ads as the view rate is almost similar.

Ads Spending
The total amount of spending on ads is higher on the desktop than on mobile phones. For some reason there is some difference but not so significant. The amount spent on desktops is on average 51% and on mobile phones 49% almost similar to the internet usage differences. 

People’s Digital Attention
This is a number of attention individuals have on the internet on either mobile or desktop platforms. More attention is realized on the mobile at around 68%, and a lower rate is realized on the desktops at around 32%. This difference is substantial enough to base marketing decisions on. It is expected to have a higher attendance rate when your advertisement is viewed on mobile. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Pricing Power of 9: Does it Work?

Finding the best price for your software product or service is essential to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. But what price exactly will get the most people to buy?

Many companies offer their products or services at “odd” prices like $4.99 or €24.98. But does lowering your price by even just a little bit from a round number really make that much of a difference? Surprisingly, when it’s time to buy, people can be somewhat irrational and the answer seems to be yes.

The ‘9’ Factor

Enter pricing psychology tactic number one. The 9 Factor, otherwise known as charm pricing, is one of the most widely used and oldest pricing practices. Ending prices with .99 or .97, or a little less than a round number, is a market psychology tactic that profoundly affects buying decisions.
Consumers perceive these odd prices as being significantly lower than they actually are, as they tend to round them to the next lowest monetary unit. As consumers, we’ve been culturally conditioned to associate prices ending in 9 with discounts and better deals. As a result, prices like $1.99 are more associated with spending $1 rather than $2.
The motivation behind this is obvious: to make the price seem lower. But is it effective? Do consumers look at a $99 price point (versus $100) and think it’s a better deal? Somewhat amazingly, research shows that they do. In his book Priceless, William Poundstone dissects eight different studies on the use of charm pricing and found that, on average, they increased sales by 24% versus ’rounded’ price points. Can you imagine increasing your revenue that much!

The Sale Price Advantage

A classic example of the power of 9 is an experiment conducted by MIT and the University of Chicago in which a standard women’s clothing item was tested at prices of $34, $39, and $44. To the researchers’ surprise, the item sold best at $39 – even though it was more expensive than one of the other options. Similarly to Poundstone’s findings, this study also found that the prices ending in 9 outperformed lower prices on average by more than 24%.
The number 9 also comes out on top when it is used in combination with a sale price. When the number 9 was included with a discounted price, it again outperformed lower price points (for example, “Was $60, now only $49!” outperformed “Was $60, now only $45!”).

Left-Digit Effect

Savvy merchants also get help from the pricing perceptions of consumers themselves. The typical consumer reads numbers from left to right, which is called the left-digit effect. When buyers do this, they interpret a $7.99 price as $7 – especially if they are scanning quickly. This makes the price seem lower, and thus more affordable and appealing. Not surprisingly, when it’s perceived as such, a sale is much more likely to happen.

Apply and Try

When finding the perfect price for your product, it’s also important to consider how your customers view prices, especially ones that end in the number 9. Charm pricing can have a significant impact on your sales and even the most sophisticated brands use it.
Keep in mind that charm pricing works best in price-conscious markets, which can include everything from household cleaners to software. To optimize your price, consider this pricing technique when developing an ecommerce pricing strategy and then test with your target market.

5 Essential Components for Attracting International CustomersImage Map
There are a lot of factors that can impact the effectiveness of your price. Access our comprehensive report on hacks that can help you find the perfect price.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

70% of Fortune 100 Companies Use the IoT

Although the Internet of Things is popular in consumer application, most IoT developments are
being made for major companies like General Electric, Rolls Royce, AT&T and Google.
The world of IoT is constantly growing. In 2006, there were only 2 billion objects connected to
the Internet of Things. Gartner projects that by 2020, that number will grow to over 200 billion; to
put it another way, for every human being on the planet there will be about 26 objects wired to
the IoT.
Who is investing in IoT? Where are they spending their money? What impact does the Internet
of Things have on the global economy? What will be the future economic impact of the IoT?
Check out this interesting infographic presented by InField Clipboard where you can learn why
and how 70% of fortune 100 companies use the IoT.

70% of Fortune 100 Companies Use the IoT

What Areas of IoT are Companies Investing In?

The Current Economy of the Internet of Things

The Economic Impact of IoT in The Future

Friday, August 25, 2017

Common SaaS Customer Acquisition Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Subscription companies face a lot of challenges. Chief among them is developing a service that meets a customer need and convincing a large number of users to get on board.
Here are some common pitfalls SaaS companies make when acquiring customers, which can hurt marketing ROI, reduce customer lifetime value (CLV) and lower recurring revenues.

1. Going After Too Many Niches

This is as much an issue of product development as it is for marketing. When it comes to new SaaS products, simplicity is best. Adding features to appeal to an additional market can be a good thing for growing your customer base, but it can just as easily clutter up your product with features most of your core users aren’t interested in having or paying for.

Solution: Stay focused, especially early on. Decide what you want your service to do and make sure it does that really well and satisfies customers before moving on to new functionalities and new target markets.

2. Highlighting Features Rather Than Benefits

A lot of SaaS companies make the mistake of listing the many features their product offers rather than focusing on the overall benefit their solution provides. To compound the issue, each new release brings a new wave of features that get tacked onto the website and other marketing materials.

Solution: Generally, customers respond better to communications that detail how a SaaS product is going to solve a particular challenge or pain point rather than a long list of features. So, highlight the benefits of your SaaS offering like cost advantages, risk reduction, greater flexibility, simple deployment, automation or better usability. Some customers may want the finer details of all your features but they can be made available at a deeper level of your site once you have the customer engaged.

3. Hiding the Important Stuff

Many companies hold back important information like price with the hope that website visitors will enter their contact information or contact sales people directly to find out more.

Solution: Unfortunately, burying important information like pricing is counterproductive, especially for B2C SaaS companies. People want to quickly know the essentials of your service, especially how much it costs. Otherwise, they will move on.
The only exceptions to this are enterprise-level SaaS providers where the final price will be dependent on a lot of different variables. But for most SaaS products, always provide pricing information upfront to reduce any hesitation for potential customers who are considering your solution.

4. No Lead Nurturing

Many SaaS companies offer trial or freemium versions of their services to get users signed up with the hope they will upgrade to a paid version. But many fail to encourage trial users to start using their service. In an informal study conducted by customer engagement company Totagno, seven in ten SaaS companies failed to notice or take action when their trial was not being used. Furthermore, only three of the ten had sales representatives personally follow up with leads.

Solution: Just because someone signed up for a trial or a lead didn’t convert to a paid version right away doesn’t mean you should ignore them. New users should be welcomed to your service with an automatic email which invites them to get started. From there, keep your subscription top-of-mind with automatic or, even better, personal emails highlighting the value of your product and simple ways to get started.

5. Poor Onboarding Process

Whether it’s a trial or a paid subscription, once a customer actually signs up for your service, you only have a short time to get them engaged. Barriers that prevent immediate usage such as extra steps (like registration), an unclear path to get started or delayed access will increase the number of users who fall out of your conversion tunnel or unsubscribe soon after they signed up.

Solution: Getting started should be easy and instantaneous for your new users. At its core, your service should be easy to use and include hints on ways to begin. Customer service should be ready to answer any questions.

6. Underestimating your Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC)

Reaching and converting customers is often much more challenging than expected in the competitive and constantly evolving SaaS space. The average customer acquisition cost in SaaS for direct sales and marketing costs is usually 6-12 times the monthly fee.

Solution: While this illustrates the importance of keeping customers subscribed over the long-term, it also demonstrates the need to look for ways to generate leads that don’t necessarily require spending a lot of money. As traditional outbound methods such as PR and advertisements tend to blow through budgets, SaaS vendors are increasingly relying on alternatives such as email campaigns, content marketing, blogging and social media.
And then there are customer referrals. Once you have some traction, make it easy for your users to refer the people they know. As an added incentive, offer discounts or upgrades for each new customer your user refers.

Avoiding common customer acquisition mistakes doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. In fact, just exposing these pitfalls should get you thinking creatively about how you can grow your subscriber base. That’s the clearest path to increasing your customers’ lifetime value – and it will help ensure the success of your company’s service.

originally posted :
Common SaaS Customer Acquisition Mistakes & How to Avoid Them Paymotion

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ecommerce Business? Here Are Four Payment Trends To Follow Closely

Digital transactions topped $1.9 trillion in 2016 according to eMarketer, and this is expected to grow to over $4 trillion by 2020. With the amount that’s bought and sold online continuing to grow fast, the challenge for ecommerce businesses is often just keeping up. By that, I mean keeping up with both the scaling up of your own business and keeping up with the rapid changes of the ecommerce landscape.
Technology is making ecommerce experiences increasingly convenient and personalized for customers. Consequently, the only way to capture a piece of the opportunity presented by online sales and maintaining your growth is to become adept at managing both.
But for this post, I’m going to focus on the pace of change in payments specifically. It’s one of the most important components of an online business and there are a number of trends that are already affecting how we pay for things. As these trends evolve, merchants need to stay on top of how they will affect their customer’s habits and preferences. And ecommerce businesses must be prepared for the changes it will necessitate for their checkout.

1. Blurring lines between physical and digital

To reach customers, you have to be where they are — and they are increasingly on their phones. In 2016, Americans spent an average of five hours a day on their mobile devices. This presents a lucrative opportunity as people spend more time on their phones and begin to shift more of their purchases online. Beacon technology, apps and social media are making it possible to reach potential customers digitally while they’re close physically.
In addition, payment options are becoming more digital. eWallets and NFC (Near Field Communication) are making it possible to make payments directly with a phone while in store. eWallets also make online purchases through a phone much easier. This melding and streamlining of payment options between physical and digital is one trend businesses will need to continue to adapt to.

2. Greater reliability

With technology making more streamlined ecommerce experiences possible, customers are going to expect a great experience with your online check out process. This means fast loading times, as few fields as possible and payments must work the first time. Up to 5% of purchases are unnecessarily abandoned because of a failed transaction.
One way to ensure your customer’s transactions are successful is to integrate with multiple payment gateways and to have intelligent payment routing. That way, if one gateway is down or results in a decline, another gateway can be attempted.

3. Increasing personalization

People have always loved to express their unique personality. Now, for everything from smartphones to cars to apps, people have a vast array of choices. This translates to payment methods as well. While credit cards are still popular, many, especially younger people, are opting for alternative payment methods when they can. Compound this with customers overseas and the number of preferred payment methods can seem overwhelming. But if you want to convert as many online customers as possible, you have to be able to accept their most preferred payment methods or you risk losing a sale to a competitor that does.

4. More convenience

The more barriers you can remove for a purchase, the more success you’ll have. When it comes to payments, you need to make sure your options match what your customers want and makes it as easy as possible. Whereas there have traditionally been additional steps for security and fraud prevention, many of these are being streamlined and made easier and more secure.
For example, instead of inputting a password, biometric authentication (like a fingerprint) is now becoming standard on many smartphones. Juniper Research recently predicted that over 600 million mobile devices will have some form of biometric authentication, more than triple the 190 million that was recorded in 2016.
If you’re still using old methods for security and fraud prevention that add steps to your checkout process that your competitors don’t require, you could be causing customers to bounce before they complete their purchase.

Positioned for success

Customers have growing expectations for ecommerce businesses and payments are a critical part of this. The more personalized the experience, the more complex it gets. But it’s also necessary to keep your conversion rate and online revenues growing.

originally posted >>>  Jason Kiwaluk:  Paymotion 

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