Showing posts with label ecommerce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ecommerce. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

What 2018 Has In Store for Ecommerce Companies

Every year the evolution of ecommerce seems to gain momentum. 2017 was no exception. More and more buying is moving online and total ecommerce sales are expected to top $2.9 trillion worldwide in 2018 – that’s nearly 90% of the GDP of the continent of Africa.
In addition to the shift in buying behavior from retail-space to cyber-space, technology is constantly changing and it’s a challenge for businesses to stay current. The ever-present risk is that falling behind can be costly.
If you’re not quick to adapt to changing consumer preferences and the technologies that meet them, you can quickly lose conversions and revenue to competitors that are able to deliver a more responsive, convenient and personalized online shopping and checkout experience. With this in mind, these will be the top ecommerce trends to track in 2018.

1. Growth Overseas

While ecommerce growth in Europe and North America continues to clip along at around 8% and 9% respectively, the fastest growing markets are in Asia. Ecommerce is simply bigger with a higher adoption rate in rising economies like Chinaand South Korea. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest online shopping days in the U.S., they are dwarfed by China’s Single’s Day.
The key takeaway here is that if your payment stack is only equipped to sell to your domestic market, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity. Instead, consider a payments solution that integrates seamlessly with the rest of your revenue stack and that enables global ecommerce by supporting multiple currencies, languages and payment methods delivering localized cart experiences to each of your geo-markets via IP and browser preference detection.

2. Rise of Generation Z

Generation Z, those born after 1995, are fast becoming a demographic with buying clout. With 77% of this cohort saying they spend 5 or more hours a day on their devices, it’s not surprising they’re shopping and buying more online than any other generation. Not only do they have $44 billion in spending power on their own, they are also influential in as much as $600 billion worth of family spending.
Compared to other demographics, Generation Z has high expectations when it comes to online experiences. They’ve grown up with the Internet and are adept at sifting through large amounts of information fast and, with 97% owning a smartphone, they are most likely to be looking for information on their mobile device.
With expectations of getting the information they need quickly, fast loading times and seamless shopping experiences on every device are a must. They like social media but tend to prefer Snapchat, Secret and Whisper over Facebook.
In terms of support, 60% are likely to hang up if their call is not answered in 45 seconds. As Generation Z enters the workforce, they will gain even more buying power and ecommerce businesses are going to have to step it up to compete for and keep their attention.

3. More Personal, More Flexible and More Mobile

It’s not just Generation Z that has high expectations of online experiences. People in general are increasingly expecting shopping and checkout experiences to adapt to their behavior and interests, not the other way around.
Not only do online storefronts need to be fast and easily navigable, they need to adjust to their users’ preferences as well. According to Accenture, over 75% of shoppers say that they are more likely to buy from a website that personalizes their experience, either with their name, or with recommendations based on past purchasing history.
In addition, offering and supporting their preferred online payment methods, local currency and language is key to keeping them engaged and converting their sale, all while ensuring a fully responsive experience at each touch-point. According to, nearly 60% of shoppers look up product information and prices while using their mobile phones in stores, making a mobile strategy critical for retailers.

4. Honing the Delicate Security/Convenience Balance

The past year saw many companies big and small fall victim to security breaches and payment fraud.
There are many proven ways to mitigate risk, but if you incorporate too many authentication steps to protect from data breaches and fraud, you can put off many potential customers. As a result of more and bigger breaches, governments are stepping up regulation requirements for companies handling sensitive customer data.
The penalties for contravening regulations vary in different jurisdictions and include stiffer fines, criminal liability and even the suspension of business operations. The most prominent example of increased regulation is the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which takes effect in 2018.
Unfortunately, there is no uniformity in laws between countries which can pose a challenge to companies operating internationally. Added to this challenge, with massive data breaches like Equifax, it is expected that fraud will be an even bigger problem going forward.
Many are increasingly implementing multi-layer authentication processes with the industry specializing in this service expected to grow 23% annually for the next several years. According to Cyber Source, the top authentication steps that are planned to be added include 3D secure (17%), email verification (12%) and fraud scoring (12%). Other features many are considering include biometrics, geo-location, cryptographic keys, and behavioral analytics.
With current measures, approximately 2.9% of orders are rejected because of suspected fraud. Unfortunately, 10% of these are suspected false positives which can result in angry customers and lost business.

5. Longer Online Events for Traditional One Day Holidays

Online shoppers have a lot of information and a lot of offers at their fingertips. The fight for attention during the lucrative holiday periods when more people are actively shopping online becomes even more fierce. Accordingly, many stores are adapting with longer periods of deals. For example, many Boxing Day sales started as early as Christmas Eve and extend well into January. Black Friday now often starts before Thanksgiving and extends all weekend.

6. Integrated Revenue Stacks

With consumer preferences, technology and security threats changing so rapidly, it will be imperative to continue to invest in a revenue stack that can keep up with your chosen strategy. An optimized ecommerce experience is no longer confined to one department or technology solution. It takes an entire company and ecosystem of solutions working together to provide a truly great online experience for your customers.
Not only do you need basic payment processing, you need top security, a variety of payment methods, chargeback management, fraud mitigation, localization features, conversion optimization, billing support, pricing flexibility, international tax calculations, partner payouts, transaction emails, subscription management, a CRM, analytics tools and more. All of these individual solutions need to be plugged together to provide real-time data to power business decisions and deliver solutions that satisfy increasingly online and expectant customers.

A Year Full of Opportunity

While the challenges this year promise to be formidable, the ways to connect with customers and earn their loyalty is also increasing. The technology is available. If you can capitalize on the trends affecting ecommerce now, you will see your conversions, customer base and revenue continue to grow into and beyond 2018.

If you liked this article, check out our Ebook, “The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce KPIs”.

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, 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 

Wednesday, May 03, 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, February 21, 2017

Growing Revenue with Dynamic Pricing

A major advantage of selling online is the wealth of data you can collect about shoppers, their preferences and their buying paths. While this data can be used to inform many strategic business decisions, another impactful way you can use the data available to you is to optimize your prices in real-time.
Dynamic pricing, already widely used by airlines, hotels and the entertainment industry, automatically adjusts prices on ecommerce sites with algorithms that gauge the volume of demand. The higher the demand, the higher the price.
The value of this comes from matching your price with the value customers perceive your product is worth (and what they are willing to pay) so you can maximize your revenue. For example, on any given flight, there’s a good chance that no two bookings were the exact same price. Understandably, higher demand for later departure times or around holidays can dramatically affect how much you pay.
Ideal Time for Other Industries to Adopt
As ecommerce data and the algorithm economy continue to flourish, so too does the opportunity for other industries and businesses to start leveraging real-time dynamic pricing. Major e-tailers and box stores like Walmart, Best Buy and eBay have already developed algorithms of their own and Amazon now updates product prices millions of times every day based on a complex algorithm to assess the demand for products.
For small and medium-sized businesses, the best time to adopt a new technology is usually after it has been tested and the best models have been identified. With many of the big players already working out many of the bugs, Gartner is predicting this may be an ideal time for companies that haven’t already to implement dynamic pricing. Leveraging it sooner and more effectively than competitors offers a huge opportunity to increase revenue.
B2B Adoption
There are many new applications that automate pricing optimization for B2B companies. While some assume they don’t have the price elasticity to take advantage of dynamic pricing, this is often not true. Hindsight analysis and pressure from business cycles (ever wonder why the best deals come at end of a month or quarter?) often influence prices in a B2B setting far more than any analysis of demand.
If your organization can move to predictive pricing based on the personas and buying path of your audience rather than recent history and internal pressure, then there is a huge opportunity to improve revenue.
Increase Social Engagement
If increasing social engagement is important to your business, consider using dynamic pricing to reward those that actively engage with your organization online. This can be done overtly with an offer or subtlety by consistently rewarding positive consumer behavior. This technique increases user generated social growth and has been used for years by the gaming industry to increase active user counts and revenue.
Maximize Recurring Revenue
If your business includes a subscription component, then adopting some sort of price optimization can drive years of increased revenue. Since the lifetime value of a client for a subscription business is so dependent upon the starting point, a small increase in the initial price can lead to a large revenue gains over a customer’s lifecycle.
Not Without Risk
Along with the opportunities are risks that need to be understood and mitigated as part of any price optimization adoption decision. Some to consider include:
  • Perception of price gouging. There is no getting around it – most know at some level that others might be getting a better deal. We also understand that the cost of a single SaaS subscription will vary if we are looking for 10,000 instead of 10 licenses. However, with online pricing available to consumers, great care must be given to how any pricing model is communicated.
Consider basing your price differentiation on your personas and vary the value in terms of the product mix in your offer or the price based on size, location or the key KPIs that drive your market.
  • Automating Mistakes. A problem with the implementation of anything involving machine learning and automation is that if something is wrong, it is wrong very efficiently. A classic example occurred in 2011 when a text book on the genetics of a fly ended up with an online price of over $23 million on Amazon because of competing algorithms (plus shipping and handling, which makes one wonder what the threshold for free shipping is!). Unfortunately for the author, none were sold at that price. But the example provides a good reminder that you need to remain vigilant when reviewing or implementing any pricing automation.
  • Not knowing costs. This is often overlooked but you need to know your marginal costs. If pricing is automated based on variable conditions, then any change in costs must be accounted for.
So along with any opportunity that you see for price optimization with your business be sure to consider the associated risks. Again, with a clear understanding of your market and buyers you can mitigate some of these risks and turn them into advantages.
Is Your Ecommerce Store Ready for Dynamic Pricing?
While the opportunity for more revenue is huge with dynamic pricing, it is not without risk. But, I believe most ecommerce stores would benefit from having dynamic pricing algorithms added to their ecommerce solution.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

How RevenueWire's Fully Hosted Ecommerce Platform Can Help You Scale Your Business Globally

In our increasingly complex digital world, rudimentary payment processing can inhibit online growth. That’s why the most successful online businesses optimize revenue through robust and flexible ecommerce solutions. Discover how RevenueWire’s end-to-end fully hosted ecommerce platform can help you scale successfully in three simple steps.

Monday, January 09, 2017

When You Need More Than Just Payment Processing

When you start an online store, there are many options when it comes to accepting customer payments. The most traditional route is to have a merchant account to allow you to accept credit card payments and a payment gateway to connect that account to your online store.
While this rudimentary solution offers a great deal of control and relatively low fees, you have to apply for both your merchant account and payment gateway, which can take time and is not guaranteed to be approved. You’ll also have to set up and support your own checkout pages while maintaining the appropriate level of security.
In the end, many find that these solutions end up costing more in terms of missed opportunities like failed payments, growing security requirements and evolving consumer expectations.

Fostering Growth: Why Comprehensive Ecommerce-as-a-Service Makes Sense

Some opt for slightly more advanced payment solutions like PayPal that combine merchant accounts and payment gateways into one solution. Advantages include faster set up and the ability to accept major credit cards. However, most will direct shoppers to an off-site page which can impact the customer experience and increase cart abandonment rates.
To fully take advantage of opportunities online, especially those looking to move to a subscription business model, the most successful online stores are choosing full-service solutions to accept payments. Not only can they help you get to market much faster, ecommerce-as-a-service combines all aspects of payment processing with additional features to maximize customer conversions and capture all possible revenue.
Specifically, this means effectively managing customer shopping and checkout experiences, being able to adapt quickly to new opportunities or changes in marketing conditions, as well as providing the data and expertise needed to fully realize the revenue potential of your product or service.

There’s More to Converting Online Shoppers Than Most Realize

Selling online is incredibly competitive. No matter what they’re looking for, customers have a lot of choice, which makes them liable to quickly abandon a potential purchase if anything gives them hesitation. This makes having a consistent, branded and easy shopping and checkout experience vital.
Ecommerce-as-a-Service ensures you have an optimized, branded checkout based on the latest best practices and security protocols to convert more shoppers, including pages optimized for the growing number of people shopping on mobile devices. This also encompasses converting international customers with cart pages that display in a shopper’s native currency and language, along with their preferred payment methods.

Payment Processing Tailored to Your Business Needs

Ecommerce-as-a-Service also means you don’t have to divert valuable resources to keeping your cart security credentials up-to-date, collecting and remitting international taxes, paying out partners or providing customer billing support. This allows you to focus on what your company does best – providing a great product.
With every business having unique payment processing needs, it’s vital to find one that’s the right fit. So, if you’re starting an online store or if you suspect that your current payment processing solution is causing you to miss opportunities to win more online customers, consider the value of a comprehensive payment processing solution.
Get our full report on overcoming the top payment and conversion challenges faced by online sellers and what you should look for in a payment processing provider.

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