November, 2012

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When They Shop but Don’t Check Out

Abandoned shopping carts are the biggest problem of any online business that takes itself seriously. eBiz Miami always encourages clients to look at their online shopping cart usage. We send regular reports, always showcasing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

As Web Site Magazine once again brings to our attention, the “bad” will always happen: for one reason or another, online shoppers will keep on skipping the “Check Out” button. To keep this from becoming “ugly” you, the online retailer, need to make sure that those reasons have nothing to do with you and the way you prepare the online shopping experience to your web site. Survey after survey shows that customers will turn around due to poor web service

92 percent of surveyed consumers have abandoned a website because of a disappointing Web service. 64 percent of shoppers will make only two attempts to purchase a product before bailing. But it doesn’t stop there – 52 percent of shoppers will turn to a competitors website to buy a similar product and about one in three (32 percent) won’t buy the product at all. (Web Site Magazine)

Grim numbers, it seems, but all is not doom and gloom. There are ways to keep more of the customers in to the end, until they click the “Check Out” button. Here are a few:

  1. Tip-top. Make sure your web site is in tip top shape from the technical point of view. No hick-ups, no slow loading of your pages, no confusion in the selection and ultimately paying process.
  2. Make sure you have what you sell! Many online stores syncronize their real life inventory with their online stock. A very good practice, if you don’t want to dissapoint. But make sure dissapointment doesn’t come after your customer wasted a good chunk of his time choosing, deciding and attempting to purchase your product, only to see at the end the dreaded “Out of Stock” message. The best practice to avoid this, is to take the product off line alltogether until you are sure you have it, or to state up front that you will have it at a specific date.
  3. Make sure you show what you sell. How would you feel if you went into a real store and baught, say, a pair of shoes, put them in a box and went to the register to pay for it, only to get home and find a totally (or slightly) different pair inside that box? Generic pictures of a product are a thing of the past. In the age of cheap digital cameras, it pays to take pictures of the real thing you’re selling, so as to not run into trouble with your customers even after they paid for what you are to send to their door.
  4. Offer discounts. Most people start their online shopping experience by comparison shopping. If they got to your store and found the same price on an item from two other web sites, they will tend to go with what they found first. Keep them to your store, by offering discounts or by offering an advantage on buying from you over the others: faster shipping (if you’re in the shopper’s area), discounts if the item purchased is over a certain amount or if purchased together with another item (Amazon and eBay retailer do it often), discount on a future purchase, etc.

Or, you can simply contact eBiz Miami, Inc. to learn how we can help make it easier without the headaches 🙂

E-Commerce? How Much Do You Pay Before You Get Paid?

So, you plan on starting to make money by selling online. Beware! Web Site Magazine published the findings of an interesting new study, about the hidden costs of e-commerce platforms.

The study was commissioned by Demandware and carried out by Forrester Consulting, on 156 US, UK and German eCommerce, Marketing and IT technology leaders.

What does it say? Well, basically what we have been telling our clients for years: the cheapest isn’t cheaper. Most of the times, the cheapest solution you purchase, “just to get started” with eCommerce, will end up cost you much more than you envisioned, a lot of times a whole lot more than you would have paid for a more comprehensive solution right from the start.

When it comes to selling your product/service through online shopping carts, there are several factors that you need to consider. Among those, the most important are:

1. The type of shopping cart you implement

2. The Merchant Account tied to your shopping cart

3. The Payment Gateway linking the Shopping Cart with your Merchang Account.

While the costs of the Merchant Account and Payment Gateway are relatively easy to project, it is the type of shopping cart that you chose, that will cause you most of the headaches, the study shows.

Chosing a shopping cart means deciding on the following:
a. Type of Ownership
b. Type of Licensing

Befor you purchase your next shopping cart solution, pay attention to both!

Most people think that if they own something, they pay once and have it for life. Not so when it comes to most things “digital”, i.e., the ones you can’t really touch.

a. Ownership: 43% of the companies surveyed stated that their total cost of ownership (TCO) was generally bigger or significantly bigger than they had anticipated.

Buying the software and installing it on your own servers, won’t prevent you from forking out big bucks down the line if you don’t chose wisely. Like any software, shopping cart solutions might come with limitations, out of the box. Paying a subscription to an online service provider might prove cheaper, but those subscription costs might add up. The only advantage is that you can chose a provider that offers and even implements updates automatically. And that brings us to:

b. Licensing: most of those limitations have to do with the terms and conditions of licensing the software to the ultimate user. As many of us know, owning a piece of software doesn’t stop the company that sells it from coming up with updates periodically. These updates might or might not be critical, however, sooner or later you would need them. If you don’t read carefully the contract that grants you the license, you might end up paying a lot more than you think, and not only for updates.

One of the most important limitations when it comes to eCommerce software comes from restrictions on the number of licenses itself. Depending on the markets you are deploying in, maximum number of users threshold of order volume, you might run into unforseen costs depending on how fast or how far you end up expanding your online business.

As a result, placing your eCommerce platform entirely in the Cloud, becomes an option that more and more business owners start to become accustomed to. As the standards and regulations of conducting business and transactions online are getting stricter, the confidence in the safety and efficiency of those solutions grows. The level of confidence of the companies surveyed, in cloud-based eCommerce solutions, was at 41%.

If it seems to much to swallow in one sitting, eBiz Miami, Inc. will make it go down easier, whenever you’re ready to tackle your future eCommerce needs. We will advise you of the choices that are out there and help you chose the right one for your business.

For the entire article on this new study, use this LINK

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