What eCommerce News Made the Headlines in January 2021?

Watch a new video in our monthly series — Magento News Digest — to stay abreast of what’s happening in eCommerce at the start of 2021.

 

 

Alibaba Nationalization

News around Alibaba and the mysterious disappearance of Jack Ma are causing disruption in the eCommerce industry. What will happen if China nationalizes Alibaba, and should merchants start to worry now? Learn the answers in the video.

Growth in Product Returns

Lockdowns forced customers to move online. With the growth of online sales, we can witness another trend – an increasing number of product returns. Customers are returning so many products it’s starting to hurt even Amazon and Walmart. Companies are using different tactics to address this issue.

Big Brother Against Apple

Apple continues to move forward with its initiatives associated with users’ privacy. With the release of the latest iOS updates, the company took its efforts a step further. However, the company doesn’t plan to stop and is planning more changes for the future.

Magento News

Magento strives to provide the best experience through its Magento marketplace. Developers of extensions won’t be able to sell modules that don’t support the latest Magento versions.

Source : https://www.gomage.com/blog/big-news-alibaba-crackdown-update-from-apple-magento/

eCommerce CRO: 9 Mistakes that Could Kill Your Sales

Your brand’s success is directly tied to eCommerce CRO. It is not worth driving people to your website if they don’t buy anything.

Many retailers fail to increase their conversion rate once customers have landed on their website. It can be difficult to know where you should start. If you don’t know what you need, you could end up doing more damage than good.

Fear not, because this post will cover nine common mistakes made by eCommerce CROs. We’ll also share tips on how to fix them. We’ll be looking at:

Let’s get started if you want to increase your conversion rate and boost your sales!

Don’t Worry about eCommerce CRO!

Making small changes to your website can make a big difference in your conversion rate, whether it is positive or negative. You could let profit slip by if you don’t regularly analyze your conversion rate and look for ways to improve it.

Let’s suppose that you convert one visitor to your store for every 100. You could improve this number to 2% by making improvements, such as fixing a broken link or simplifying the payment page. It may seem low, but it will instantly double your revenue.

What does an eCommerce CRO do?

Data is the key to a successful ecommerce CRO strategy. Without data about your site’s performance, it will be difficult to spot where conversions are dropping. The first step is to analyze conversion data on your site and to hypothesize about what can be done to improve it.

Be careful. Changes can have a negative effect on your business. To ensure reliable results, A/B testing is a scientific approach.

You can test a new version or page of your website using A/B testing. By segmenting your visitors, 50% will view the new variant while 50% will continue to see the original. You can compare both the results to determine which one has the highest conversion rate and then decide whether you want to adopt the change or not.

There are many types of tests. Some are simple, but they have significant impact. Others are more complex and cost-intensive, but result in a lower conversion rate. Hypotheses must be prioritized. The easiest wins should be given first, while subtler changes should be left for last. The A/B testing of each change allows for further improvement.

Each ecommerce store is different. Your target audience will determine what conversion rates are most important to you.

There are a few things that all ecommerce sellers should know. These are the essentials that customers want in an online shopping experience. These are key to increasing your conversion rate and generating more revenue.

Let’s look at some easy ways to increase your store’s conversion rate.

eCommerce CRO 9 Reasons Shoppers Leave Your Store

Now that we have the why and how of eCommerce CRO, let’s move on to the easy wins and mistakes for our store.

1. Not mobile-friendly

It is now a non-negotiable to have mobile-first ecommerce designs. Statista predicts 72.9% of global retail ecommerce will be driven by mobile users in 2021. This is an increase from 58.9% in 2017.

A beautiful desktop design won’t be of much value to your customers if it isn’t mobile-friendly.

If customers feel your website is not responsive, as shown below, it will make it less likely that they complete their purchase.

Make sure to test your mobile site carefully. This will ensure that it looks great and provides a seamless customer experience.

2. Slow Page Speed

Online shoppers want a quick and easy way to shop. Slow loading pages can frustrate customers and cause them to leave your store.

A study by Portant has shown that conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42 percent for every second that passes between page loading and the time it takes to load. This is a serious setback for your eCommerce CRO efforts.

It’s important to grab customers’ attention quickly, with so many competitors just a click away. This means optimizing your website for speed.

3. Too many distractions

Customers who are focused on buying the product they desire will find it difficult to navigate messy and disorderly pages. Your customers will be more distracted by too many images and text on your pages than they are encouraged to buy. This is an example of the monstrosity that we discovered earlier.

Keep your website simple and product-focused, from landing pages to product pages and payment pages. Limit the number buttons per page. There’s no reason to have 10 buttons when three is sufficient. A clearer path to purchase will be made by limiting the number of choices your customer must make.

Make sure your product photos are consistent in size and shape so that you can easily understand the layouts of your pages. Color schemes and fonts that are easy to read and do not distract from products will help you achieve the highest ecommerce CRO scores.

4. Faulty Search Function

It is much easier for customers who know what they want than to just browse. These customers will visit your website to verify that you have the product they are looking for. They don’t want to be overwhelmed with too many options. Instead, they will want to be directed to the product that interests them.

High-converting customers will find it easy to find what they are looking for by making your search function obvious.

Make sure all your products are properly tagged and that you have a good search function. To help customers narrow down their choices and prevent them from scrolling through many pages, you’ll need to provide a variety of filters.

This guide contains many best practices and more tips to optimize your search engine.

5.

Online shopping has one major drawback: customers can’t touch or see the product. They need to have enough information to make informed purchasing decisions.

Your product descriptions should be concise and simple. This will make your products more appealing to customers. For eCommerce CRO, high quality photos of products (including lifestyle photos) and a detailed product specification are key.

Consumers are becoming more brand-conscious and want to learn more about the brands they purchase from. With the environment at the forefront of everyone’s minds, consumers will likely choose brands that have ethical or sustainable values to give them the satisfaction of making an ethical purchase.

Customers should have easy access to information about the brand values so that they can both buy your products and become a part of your brand.

6. Absence of urgency

Your site may not be available to every customer who visits it. They’ll likely leave your site if there isn’t an sense that urgency. There’s no guarantee they’ll return.

Give buyers compelling reasons to make a purchase right away. Here’s an example of how Airbnb encourages customers to act now:

There are many ways to increase urgency and encourage action, whether it’s by offering buyers time-sensitive offers or making them feel like they are competing with other customers for a desired product.

7. Long checkout

After your customer has made their purchase, they want the checkout process as simple as possible. Customers may abandon a purchase if they are faced with lengthy, complicated forms on multiple pages.

When requesting information, keep custom fields to a minimum and offer users the option of continuing as a guest.

Try to keep your checkout process to just four steps

  1. Check out
  2. Delivery details
  3. Payment Details
  4. Confirmation

It is important to capture an email address. This will allow you to follow up on abandoned carts and convert customers at a later time.

A progress bar can be added to the page to reassure customers and encourage them onward.

8. Unexpected expenses

Customer adds an item into their cart based upon the price of the item and the perceived value. Customers don’t want to be surprised by an additional cost when they get to the payment page. This will not only change the customer’s perception of the product’s value, but it can also damage their trust in the brand if they feel misled.

To avoid unpleasant surprises at checkout, you can provide pricing information upfront on taxes, exchange rates, and delivery costs. To calculate shipping costs, you can use customer information at the shopping cart page. This will let customers be aware of it early. Customers can also choose from multiple shipping options with different costs to control the cost of their purchase.

9. No purchase confirmation

Although your conversion rate for the initial purchase might not be affected, it is crucial that you have a purchase confirmation page when converting customers who are returning customers to life-long customers.

Buyers who do not receive confirmation emails or a confirmation page will be confused. This is a great way to increase future sales and improve customer experience.

A

Everything you need to know about cloud ERP and Ecommerce

One wise (and unidentified) man is quoted as saying that “I won’t be impressed by technology until I can download foods from the internet.”

Maybe that day will come, but for now we can order almost everything online.

However, businesses that hadn’t made the decision to do so were forced to reconsider their decision after the COVID-19 crisis. Ecommerce is not a future option, but a necessity for survival.

Statista estimates that retail ecommerce revenues reached 431 billion U.S. Dollars in 2020, according to Statista . The revenue is expected to rise to more than 563 billion U.S. Dollars by 2025. How can ecommerce companies manage the extraordinary growth and meet higher-than-ever customer demands?

IDC is a leading global market intelligence company. It has released a white paper, Best Together: SaaS Digital Commerce Platforms & ERP Help Organizations Move Past Legacy Limitations. This whitepaper states that the solution lies in a combination team effort and the right technology.

The IDC analysts wrote that meeting customer expectations requires team effort. This is dependent on all areas of the organization (e.g. commerce, customer service and financials, supply chain).

The analysts recommend that businesses invest in a cloud ERP and digital commerce system, such as the native Acumatica BigCommerce Connector, to ensure they grow and mature into enterprise-level companies.

Before we get into the details of this seamless solution, let’s first talk about what cloud ERP software actually is.

What is Cloud ERP?

Understanding cloud computing is key to understanding cloud ERP solutions. An Microsoft Azure article gives a clear definition.

Cloud computing simply means that computing services are delivered over the internet (or “the cloud”), including servers, storage, databases and software. This allows for faster innovation and flexible resources as well as economies of scale. Cloud services are typically only charged for what you use. This helps you to lower operating costs, scale your infrastructure more efficiently, and reduce your overheads.

Cloud ERP software, then, is software-as-a-service (SaaS) that allows users to access Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software over an internet connection. A cloud-based ERP system acts as an organizational system of record. Data from financial, distribution, CRM, etc. The ERP synchronizes data from all systems in real time. The ERP is a central repository for all business data. It integrates business processes and serves as an “unique source of truth” for employees. Users can also access the ERP from any device with a browser, and at any time.

A general rule of thumb is that if a company is still using a legacy system or multiple disconnected, poorly integrated systems to manage complex inventory, warehouses and financial obligations, it is time to move to a cloud-based ERP solution.

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Cloud ERP vs Private Cloud ERP

Understanding private cloud ERP is essential to fully comprehend cloud ERP solutions. Let’s take a look at both options.

1. Cloud ERP.

As we know, cloud ERP options allow users to access their business applications via the internet. They run on shared computing resources. Cloud ERP options allow users to easily integrate with third-party apps while still providing the flexibility and scalability that businesses require in a dynamic economy. Cloud ERP vendors are responsible for security, updates, as well as upgrades. Businesses pay a monthly subscription fee depending on how many users or resources they use.

2. Private Cloud ERP.

The only difference between private and cloud ERP systems is the location of the software. The software is installed and maintained at the business’s own facilities. Only the IT department of an organization is responsible for software deployment and the maintenance and security of software and hardware. The initial costs of software licenses and hardware may be prohibitive. Remote access is possible but not always an integrated function. It may be necessary to use a third-party app and device.

Private Cloud ERP: Challenges

All ERP options have their unique challenges, but private cloud ERP challenges are something businesses, particularly small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs), should pay attention to.

Private cloud ERP solutions may be more expensive to implement and maintain, with a higher capital investment upfront. Businesses must have a full-time IT staff. Private cloud solutions can take longer to deploy, may require more hardware to accommodate additional users, and may not be mobile-friendly.

Private cloud ERP solutions often have legacy systems that are not modernly integrated. Customers suffer as a consequence.

What makes cloud ERP business sense for an online store?

We now have a better understanding of the differences and challenges in the various ERP solutions, it is time to bring ecommerce into the picture.

Ecommerce platforms are essential for putting their products/services before customers. An ecommerce portal allows online businesses to manage sales, marketing and operations.

According to IDC’s Whitepaper, whichever ecommerce platform businesses choose, it must combine seamlessly and natively with an ERP solution–preferably, a cloud ERP solution.

Analysts at IDC write that the most successful digital businesses have an overarching strategy for digital transformation and select ERP and digital commerce systems that can be tightly integrated or combined. A future-proof digital platform must use modern SaaS systems designed for the cloud.

An online store that uses cloud ERP solutions makes business sense is always a good idea.

Cloud ERP for Ecommerce: Benefits

Cloud ERP solutions are often faster to implement, have lower upfront costs and allow for real-time communication with ecommerce platforms. Businesses can also benefit from cloud ERP solutions that include an ecommerce vertical such as Acumatica’s retail-commerce edition.

1. Flexibility and adaptability.

Flexibility in the face of market fluctuations is a key indicator of a company’s success. Businesses can easily make required customizations with the right cloud ERP system, without having to hire IT staff. They can adapt their back-office processes and workflows as well as their customer-facing apps to change circumstances.

Each merchant also operates in a unique way. Each merchant operates in a unique way. The right cloud ERP solution can be configured and used without code to adapt to merchant’s unique requirements, instead of forcing them to use the ERP software.

2. 2. Improved security

Cloud-based ERP software can be hosted in data centers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. They have the resources that SMBs might not have, including top-notch security. A cloud hosting service offers many benefits:

  • Physical access to the equipment can be controlled.
  • Environmental protection.
  • Protection against unforeseen disasters.
  • Network intrusion detection and prevention.
  • Regular maintenance of your system.

3. Business growth can be sustained

Businesses expect their business management software to grow along with them as they grow. However, this is not always possible. It is difficult for legacy solutions to keep up with technological innovations that are constantly changing.

Cloud-based solutions receive regular updates and upgrades. These updates allow ecommerce businesses remain competitive and provide the opportunity for continued growth.

4. Compatible with many tools

No matter what business offers or what services it sells, integration with key business applications is essential. Acumatica has the technology partner to help a business expand Acumatica’s platform.

BigCommerce allows Acumatica businesses to process orders, manage inventory and set prices. It also facilitates inbound logistics.

Steps to Cloud ERP Implementation

Connecting an ERP cloud solution to an ecommerce platform may sound like a smart decision. There are few steps you need to follow when choosing or implementing a cloud ERP system. While cloud ERP providers might differ in the number of steps and the names of the steps, the end result is the exact same: ecommerce success.

1. 1.

Ecommerce businesses need to take the time and research all options. While it may take time to compare and contrast the various cloud ERP systems available today, rushing this step could result in making a bad decision.

A checklist such as Acumatica’s Business Management System Evaluator Checklist is a great way to evaluate and research options. It allows businesses to compare features and benefits between vendors based upon five categories: Productivity (functionality), Technology (value), and risk.

This checklist, or any similar one, will help businesses to find the right cloud ERP system.

2. Installation.

The second step is to install the software. To complete the installation, you will need to first gather an internal team. This team often includes an Executive Sponsor, a Project Leader (or Project Manager), a technical Lead and Subject Matter Experts.

This step requires you to identify your requirements. Acumatica customers classify requirements as necessary, desirable, not an urgent need, and nice-to-have. This results in a list with features and functions that is affordable and fits the project’s timeline.

3. Migration.

Migration of data from an old system to a new one is complex. However, a checklist can make it easier and more manageable. Acumatica’s data migration checklist is an example.

  • Verify that all customer contact information is current and accurate
  • Correct or remove redundant data (discontinued vendors and contacts not longer associated with the company).
  • Correct or out-of date company data (old part numbers and discontinued products) should be removed
  • Set up your Acumatica database
  • Your legacy ERP data can be mapped to Acumatica’s new fields
  • Transfer the data to your new system
  • To verify that all data from the past has been transferred and is still accessible, test the new system
  • Verify that new data can be added (new product information or inventory item location, customer information).

4. Test.

It is important to test and approve any new product before it is sold to customers. While cloud ERP vendors may have their own procedures and methods for creating a test plan to test the system, most test plans will be able to test every requirement.

These are some guidelines that may be followed during testing:

  • Scope: The purpose of the test
  • Requirement: The specific requirement that is being tested
  • Configuration: System configurations required to conduct the test
  • Step-by-step procedure to perform the test
  • Test Data: An SME can provide this if needed. The test data should be representative of real-world situations
  • Expected Results: The results that are expected to be produced when the system performs according to specifications
  • Pass or fail: This determines whether the test was passed.
  • Comment: Additional observations, system behavior and partial successes
  • Training

Training is an essential step. Users and system administrators who aren’t properly trained from the start may not fully grasp the benefits of the cloud ERP system.

A cloud ERP vendor should offer training assistance, as well as all the documentation and training courses required for a complete training experience.

5. 5.

The deployment is also known as “go-live” and is when the cloud ERP vendor will be available to push the go-live button.

This step involves making the decision about when you want to go live. This usually happens on the day or days that have the lowest impact on the business. Businesses will then need to decide whether they want the new system activated and deactivated simultaneously. Or if they prefer to proceed in a gradual manner.

Whatever activation method you choose, the final result will be a business that uses a mobile cloud ERP system. But there’s more.

6. 6.

After the excitement of a successful launch, there will always be questions or additional assistance. This could include the need to integrate with custom and third-party applications. As the business refines their business processes, and continues to require support, the cloud ERP provider should always be available.

Wrapping up

Ecommerce businesses are enjoying a boom economy, and they expect even more growth in the future. These businesses need to be efficient, flexible and adaptable in order to reap the full benefits of an economy like this. This is possible when they choose the right cloud ERP solution, which natively integrates with their ecommerce platform.

Analysts at IDC write that “Already at an unprecedented high, the rate for change in the global economic system is expected to continue increasing over the next decade.” B2B and B2C merchants require modern, tightly integrated front-office and back office applications to adapt to these changes and remain competitive. These tightly integrated applications offer resilience so merchants can overcome obstacles with agility, rather than waiting for their systems catch up.

Combining the forces of BigCommerce with Acumatica will provide much-needed automation for ecommerce businesses. This will help them streamline their business processes, compete in a growing domestic market, and ultimately succeed in today’s marketplace.

Inside Gildan’s Digital Transformation for B2B Ecommerce

Started in 1946 in Montreal, Canada as a children’s apparel manufacturing company, Gildan has gone on to become one of the world’s leading vertically-integrated manufacturers of apparel, socks and legwear.

Gildan is well-known for the high quality of its products but it is also known for its program for social, environmental, and governance (ESG). Because of its long history of ethical manufacturing practices and sustainable production, Gildan was named one the ” 100 Most Sustainable Companies” by The Wall Street Journal for 2020.

The company’s portfolio includes brands such as American Apparel, GOLDTOE and others. Gildan also has a Board of Decorators website. This is an inspiring community of decorators, created by and for decorators. Recently, Gildan combined six sites into one and launched wholesale website gildanbrands.com.

We sat down with Kees Olthof (senior manager for consumer experience at Gildan) to learn more about the company’s ecommerce journey.

Interview Gildan on B2B Ecommerce Growth

How much is your business direct-to consumers (DTC) and business-to business (B2B), respectively?

Kees Olthof : “I would suggest that the majority of wholesale is B2B. DTC is for us a sales channel but it’s so much more. DTC allows us to interact directly with our customers, which allows us to be more customer-centric. The DTC websites allow us to have complete control over our brand and the customer experience.

What was it that motivated you to make the switch from paper to an online catalogue for wholesale?

KO “As a brand we realized that paper catalogues were an obsolete medium. They only allow us to interact with customers in one dimension. We realized that an online catalog could offer a richer and more interactive experience. This was what drove us to move from a printed catalog and go online. It was also part of our sustainability program because it has been a great way for us to save paper while continuing to reduce our carbon footprint.”

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What are you doing to grow your B2B ecommerce business and make the switch to BigCommerce?

KO “We’ve been in B2B ecommerce for more than 15 years. However, we used legacy systems that could only be accessed by very large clients. We were not able to use certain capabilities, and it was extremely expensive to maintain. It was not perfect, but it worked.

“We needed an ecommerce platform that met all our requirements when we compared different platforms. We needed to consider the following: culture fit, product roadmap, total costs of ownership, business requirements. Are we able to see ourselves working with this company for the long-term?

BigCommerce was a state of the art platform that could create a better customer experience and scale globally. That was crucial. The best part is the low cost. That’s why we switched from legacy systems to BigCommerce.

What features are necessary for product fit on an ecommerce platform B2B?

KO “In our case what we really appreciated is the API-first approach. BigCommerce was the core of our ecommerce system . However, it is not a one-size fits all solution. Your ability to seamlessly integrate with other solutions was a great asset.

Could you tell me more about your mobile app and the way you use it?

KO “The mobile app was originally designed to be an inventory finder. Although customers could search inventory online, it is much easier to use a mobile phone if they’re on the move or have someone at their store. The app will tell customers where the distributors are closest to them based on their location. They can then use the app from there to call, email, or request the product.

“Now, there are so many more things you can do with an application, we’re expanding its function to include a swatch scanning option. Customers can scan one of our swatch card with all the colors and fabrics using their smartphone’s camera and find out which styles are available.

“Previously, customers had to consult a table in order to determine the available colors. This feature is something that customers have requested for a long time and it’s one we are excited about.

How do you create a seamless customer experience with all of these sites?

KO. “Returning to your question, BigCommerce was chosen to be the foundation of our digital ecosystem. It houses our DTC retail websites, B2B brands sites, Board of Decorators website, and mobile app. These initiatives should not be separated, but have one experience. BigCommerce is that back-end.

BigCommerce stores all our product information. This means that customers can search on both the website and the mobile app the same way. It’s easier for our internal team to innovate and maintain with one platform that covers every channel.

“Basically, BigCommerce allows us to connect these initiatives in a way that we couldn’t before. No matter where you are on your customer journey, you’ll still receive the same seamless, smooth experience.

Are there any DTC best practices you would like to include on your wholesale B2B site?

KO “We are integrating social media onto the site, so that you can see user-generated content. Social proof is still relevant to B2B, taking a cue from consumer websites. Many DTC practices are beginning to gain acceptance in B2B. We believe there are many important lessons to be learned, even though not all DTC practices work the same.

“We also want to have more two-way conversations, which is something we can’t do in print. Customers can leave feedback via the website whenever they wish. In our FAQ section, for example, it asks if this question was helpful. “Yes or no?”

What advice or suggestions would you offer other B2B businesses going through a digital transformation process?

KO “I would tell any B2B company that when you move your business online, take advantage of the opportunity to be more data-driven. This is something that you can do online, but not offline.

Quantitative data refers to the “what” you can gain from your web analytics. The qualitative data, on the other hand is the “why” that you can get from your web analytics. This can be learned through onsite surveys and feedback. Next, shift your culture to open-mindedness and validate your assumptions.

“Also make sure everyone in your company has access to the wealth of data you collect through online interactions. This could be on your website, social channels, or mobile apps. These insights should be shared beyond your digital team to help you make business decisions.

“I believe that this is key for any manufacturer, because first-party information is something you don’t always possess without direct access to customers. These direct customer insights are crucial for any manufacturer in order to optimize processes and create better products.

Start your B2B Ecommerce Solution with BigCommerce

Are you ready to make the leap and sell online using a B2B eCommerce platform that will help you succeed? Check out . All the features necessary to simplify B2B selling will be found here.

Turnkey Solutions for Ecommerce Success

In the technology industry, “turnkey” refers to pre-built computer packages that include everything necessary to complete a task such as shipping and recurring billing. These packages are often used to build websites with ready-made solutions. Many ecommerce platforms allow individuals and businesses to create online shops.

Ecommerce is booming thanks to trends such as increased mobile device usage, social media reach, the use of easily accessible personal data, payment gateway options, new points of sale, and distribution channels. Ecommerce is huge. The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), a UK-based online trade organization, estimates that global business-to consumer ecommerce sales will surpass the one trillion euro mark ($1.25 trillion USD) by 2013. From 2.2 billion at 2011’s end, the total number of Internet users will rise to 3.5 billion in 2013.

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Etsy is now a complete ecommerce solution

It has been easier than ever to set up a website store using products such as Woo Commerce or Etsy over the last few years. Although it is free to open a store on the website, there are high fees per sale and limited flexibility. Online stores that are created using a niche market platform for free will have success and eventually need to move to another platform. This requires you to recreate the store and go through the learning curve once again.

An online store must have software that can grow with it. You should consider what happens when you want to personalize a store or make it available to a wider market such as Amazon or Google Shopping. Enterprise software solutions remove limitations and allow businesses to grow rather than limit their growth.

Why choose ecommerce for your business?

Online commerce is growing rapidly and serious sellers require a complete enterprise ecommerce platform. Enterprise ecommerce platforms have many ways to connect with and share information with other software or services. Online retailers are looking for new ways to increase their customers’ experience and provide a high-quality user interface. This is why more of them have adopted turnkey platforms. Enterprise solutions provide a wide range of computing tools, from payment gateways and application processing to data storage and security to data storage. Pinnacle Cart and Bigcommerce, Volusion, Volusion, Shopify, Volusion, and Shopify have eliminated the clutter by integrating the best application tools to make it easy for storeowners create efficient stores that work immediately.

Ecommerce software providers have created application programming interface (API), integrations that provide a single customer interface and support. Many providers also offer easy access and exports of custom XML that can be extended functionality and integrated with third-party services such as Quickbooks and PayPal. Some providers offer the option to have a fully integrated website with all applications available immediately.

Full service ecommerce platforms start from $29 per month. Price does not have to be a limiting factor. Many providers offer free trials. You might consider an enterprise ecommerce solution to help you capitalize on the growing Internet market, depending on your sales volume or business goals.

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Ecommerce isn’t just for big retailers.

Ecommerce isn’t just for big retailers. However, it can be difficult to compete with them. Independent sellers selling products online must always strive to improve their websites to maximize conversions.

It is important to improve how products are presented online to lower consumers’ price elasticity and create a better shopping experience. Consumers are willing to pay more for more enjoyable shopping experiences. There are simple steps that retailers can take to increase search rankings, click-through rate, load times, and ultimately conversions. These tips can be used by even the smallest retailers to achieve big results.

These are the top five ways that independent retailers can improve their website content.

1. Improve product descriptions: The smartest way is to create templates that allow for automatic text filling. You can create templates for any broad category with placeholders for product-specific details. You only need to decide on a word count, and then create sentences with placeholders that correspond to standard attribute combinations. These templates are a great way to quickly create hundreds of descriptions, allowing you to increase your description coverage.

2 Refresh product descriptions and related material: Outdated content can result in lower search volumes (Google ranks refreshed information higher) and negatively impact conversions. Refreshing content can fix this. Rewriting can be costly, but it is possible to get the content rephrased. Infuse relevant keywords into the content. Keywords that reflect customer sentiment will perform better in organic search results. You can find out more.

HTML3_ Track the performance of your keywords. Search engines direct traffic to your website based on keywords. It is important to quickly take action if your site does not rank well in search engine results pages and has a low click-through ratio. Your site’s performance can be greatly affected by keywords. Meta-data, such as meta-titles or descriptions, are dynamic.

4) Improve your text-to code ratio. Internet surfers are short-attention span. Your site might not be performing well because it takes too long to load. Third-party tools can help you identify this problem. This problem can be fixed immediately with third-party tools. Flash applications and embedded videos increase page load times significantly. Instead, place an image on your homepage that users can click when they reach the site. You can use this method to have the video without slowing the loading time.

HTML5_ Simplify product taxonomy This will make it easier to navigate your website. Do not create too many layers. Instead, try to correctly classify products as people search for them. An analysis of search paths will show you the origin and intent of the search, as well as the landing page. When combined with your bounce-rate data, this will show you how poor your internal search terms and how many irrelevant searches are being generated, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction. These internal search analytics can be used to improve the performance of your site.

Retailers have increased their content analytics efforts over the last few years. This is due to the abundance of consumer demand data available, including product reviews and social media comments. It is possible to spot trends and position online product offerings accordingly.

Website content can influence price perception and increase margins. Even the smallest retailers should pay close attention to this aspect of their business.

Gift cards (certificates), when properly marketed, can increase online sales, encourage customer retention through repeat purchases, and help attract new clients. These are three essential elements to building a successful business. Every ecommerce store should have a healthy gift card program.

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Gift cards facts

Shopatron conducted research that revealed interesting facts about gift cards’ impact on consumer behavior. Online retailers that create and market a gift card program correctly can expect an average increase of 10% in sales. It was also found that 31% of gift card recipients are more likely to buy items at full price (not on sales) than those who use other payment methods.

It found that gift card users spend 40% more on average per order than the gift card’s value. If you take this data one step further, and think about average order values, an online retailer looking to increase their average order value by $70 (for example), might market gift cards $50 or greater more aggressively than lower denominations.

Stores looking to increase their customer base will be pleased to learn that 40% of those who are given a gift card for a store will actually visit that store, regardless of whether or not they have previously visited the store.

While it is important to attract new customers, it is not the only aspect of success. Retention of customers is key to greater profits and long-lasting success. This is where gift cards can be of great help. According to data, 72% of people who have received gift cards will return to the place where they purchased them. These two facts show that gift cards programs are able to both attract new customers as well as keep existing customers coming back.

Marketing Gift Certificates

 It is simple to market gift cards on holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day when gift-giving is top of mind for many customers. The data shows that around 81 percent adults will buy gift certificates during holidays. But what can a store do to keep sales up by selling gift cards throughout the year?

It is a smart idea to create a gift card category on your website. Make sure you promote the gift cards in different areas of your website, such as banners and calls outs to let customers know that they exist.

Promoting discount gift cards is another marketing strategy that works. A $50 gift card would be an example. It costs only $40. This is a great way to give a gift card to someone you love. It also gives customers $10 off their next order. Current customers know that gift cards can be used in conjunction with coupon codes, so they can double up with any coupon codes they have to save even more.

An online store can drive sales by marketing’special’ gift certificates to existing customers in the above manner. Another way to increase sales is to team up with complementary retailers and give gift cards to each other. This also helps to create a gift card program that generates revenue. One example is a store selling custom wine racks/storage solutions that offers a gift card with every purchase to a complimentary store that sells wine, and vice versa.

Both businesses, which are complementary but not competing, benefit from the partnership. As a part of their sale, store “A” automatically gives the customer a gift card to shop “B”. The customer then uses the gift card to make a purchase at store “B”. Both stores gain from the transaction with store B, picking up a new client along the way.

Facebook and other social media platforms are very popular. Stores might consider using apps that link to these platforms, allowing customers to gift cards to friends. Social media’s virality and ease-of-use can be a powerful combination to market gift card campaigns.

Another way to increase gift card sales is to offer to donate a portion to charity. A pet shop might offer to donate $10 to the rescue shelter of your choice for every $50 spent on a gift card.

To encourage gift card purchases, and to ensure customer loyalty in future stores, reward points might be offered on each gift certificate purchase. This could include double reward points. To supercharge both, this strategy combines customer loyalty programs with gift card programs.

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Gift Cards

There are two types of gift cards. You can either print physical items (similar to a gift card or gift certificate) or send an electronic gift card number via email.

The customer receives the physical gift card / certificate via post. Or, they can be purchased at brick and mortar shops from racks (displays that include hundreds of gift cards from different retailers). These gift cards are more expensive to market (printing, manufacturing fees may apply), but customers often choose these types of gift certificates when they wish to include something tangible in their package.

The recipient receives electronic gift cards via email. They are usually less personal and not as tangible. They are free for the retailer and can be printed multiple times by the recipient. However, because they are impersonal, it is often a little more difficult to market them than their physical counterparts.

All gift cards, regardless of whether they are printed or electronic, work the same way to retain and attract customers. While the marketing effort to promote them to consumers is different, the overall effect on businesses remains the same.

Cybersecurity is essential for Ecommerce Retailers

It is not easy to own and operate an eCommerce business. It requires a lot of market research, product quality and marketing strategy, as well as time investment and hard work.

It is also true that many online businesses will forget to implement cybersecurity measures. It is actually quite common for online businesses to forget about their cybersecurity practices.6 out of 10 small businesses Do not have a digital security plan. It is often only that businesses realize the importance of a digital defense plan when they are faced with legal issues, data loss, or other liabilities.

Ecommerce retailers of all sizes are increasingly concerned about cybersecurity, particularly as online shopping becomes more popular and brands use consumer data to their advantage. These are the top cybersecurity benefits for e-tailers. We also have tips to improve cybersecurity practices in your organization.

Reduces the risk of data breaches

Cyber-attacks seem to be more common than ever. Cybersecurity is a major problem for both small and large businesses. This puts millions at risk from data breaches.

Cyberattacks can be devastating for consumers and businesses alike. Cyberattacks can have devastating financial consequences for small businesses, and they can also be costly to large companies.Average: $200,000. These risks can be mitigated by focusing on cybersecurity best practices. This can help your company save money in the long-term.

Increases Consumer Trust

Today’s consumers are more concerned about protecting their personal data than ever before. They will only trust businesses that offer the highest level of security. PwC reports that the state of consumer trust in retailers brands is low.Only 25% of consumersMost companies treat sensitive personal information responsibly, according to my opinion.

Consumers don’t trust businesses anymore. Businesses can’t show that they can safeguard their customers’ sensitive data, nor can they use it responsibly. This is the stark reality. Consumer worries are increasing as data breaches become more frequent and larger. These concerns must be addressed by companies or they risk losing business. This distrust can be offset by ecommerce retailers that use cybersecurity practices.

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Offers a Competitive Advantage

Retail brands that prioritize this value-add will win the long-term because they are so closely connected to consumer trust and business security. ThePwC – a reference to the aboveThe report also revealed that 87% of consumers said they would take their business elsewhere if they didn’t feel secure with a company handling their data properly.

Tips to Increase Cybersecurity

Human error is the root cause of many cybersecurity errors. This initiative must begin with internal policies, practices and implementation. Here are some tips to improve your cybersecurity practices at home.

  • Increase corporate password security requirements. Although passwords are a core part of any security policy, it can be difficult to ensure that they are secure and enforced. A password manager allows you to set minimum password standards for your company and can ensure that passwords are high-quality.
  • Make sure your network is secure These solutions, such as software defined wide area networks can strengthen your network security and ensure that employees have a secure connection, regardless of where they are located.
  • Keep your software up to date: Software upgrades often fix security flaws that can make users vulnerable to hackers and other cyber attacks. This risk can be reduced by paying attention to the available software updates and making sure they are completed in a timely manner.
  • Share best practices with employees: After you have established the best cybersecurity practices in your company, make sure you adequately document and communicate your strategy to your employees. They will be better informed and more educated about the best practices.

It is crucial to be proactive in cybersecurity for your retail business. These practices can not only help reduce the likelihood of a cyber attack, but they can also increase consumer trust and loyalty, which can lead to increased sales.

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The Significance of Ecommerce Strategy

One thing I discovered running my ecommerce jewelry industry for 10 years was that I was never completed. There was apparently always something new I should be working on.

I suspect a number of different merchants feel similarly. However, it’s important to inquire if you’re working on the ideal things. Are you investing time and money into projects which will help achieve your business objectives? Do you understand what your business objectives are?

Importance of Strategy

In the event you were to travel from Colorado to Canada, by way of instance, do you leave without doing any preparation? Probably not. You’d probably want to determine:

  • The best path;
  • Just how long it will take;
  • What supplies you need;
  • Customs or visa requirements.

If you would like to cultivate your online revenues in 2013 by 30 percent, how will you do this? Ask the very same types of questions, like the following.

  • More revenue from existing clients?
  • Increase average order value?
  • Sell through new channels?
  • Acquire more new clients through affiliate marketing campaigns?
  • Reduce your prices to steal business from rivals?
  • All the above?

The point is, make a plan. At least think and strategize even if you don’t develop a concrete business plan, which is always best, incidentally.

  • Conduct a SWOT analysis. Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and dangers of where you are now.
  • Review your overall vision. Where would you like to be in 5 to 10 years?
  • Establish business aims. For the present year, establish goals for sales, profits, customers, traffic, new systems, and new employees.
  • Pick your strategies. These are broad ideas of how to achieve goals.

Time Well Spent

All this will take some time, but it’ll be worth it. Continually reflect on matters that come from your SWOT analysis. It generally presents the chances you need to pursue and the flaws you have in your enterprise.

  • Concentrate on reducing your weaknesses and building on your strengths.
  • Mitigate the risks you see from outside threats. These are usually supply chain, aggressive, or traffic related.
  • Evaluate going after the outside opportunities. Those are often where your main investment of money and time should be made

Review your merchandise strategies, site, supply chain, customer service, fulfillment, and financing. To put it differently, review your entire company, not just one part. Making a change in your online shop may affect your operations or resources in a different area.

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Involve Entire Team

Assemble your management team from many departments and plan projects as a team for a half or full day. My company calls this “Discovery Project.” Having all of the stakeholders involved will help provide a broader view of your business and market. Create a vision and business goals the exact same day. Meet again a couple of days later and examine alternate strategies to attain those objectives. Set aside another week for the many teams to evaluate the effect of various strategies.

Develop strategies in these areas of your ecommerce business.

  • Client experience. Everything from locating your shop to post-sales support.
  • Merchandise strategies. What is your product mix, pricing, and sourcing?
  • Ecommerce platform and systems. Is your platform supporting the perfect customer experience? Are your systems automated and incorporated in a level to support your processes?
  • Business processes. How efficient are your surgeries? What are areas of advancement, training, or even better supervision?
  • Channels. Are you reaching all of the target clients with your current online shop? In case you add marketplaces? International markets?

Regions of Improvement

As you proceed through this process, you probably will immediately identify areas for improvement. A fantastic SWOT analysis may expose it through the first day.

For most merchants, customer experience improvements will be the major emphasis. Whether you just launched a shop or are running one which hasn’t changed in three decades, you need to have a list of improvements to make. Prioritize those improvements that can allow you to accomplish your business objectives. If you wish to sell more to existing customers, you might need investments in merchandising and personalization. If your intention is to acquire more new customers, you might choose to concentrate on new landing pages and search engine optimization.

In short, seek constant improvement.

Ecommerce and Brick-and-mortar Retail Converge

While there might still be plenty of space for pure-play ecommerce companies, retailers with physical stores should look to expand online as customers stop seeing a distinction between purchasing online and at a shop. Increasingly, physical retail outlets are being changed into a type of brand-building media.

The U.S. retail sector grew 2 percent in the first quarter of 2013, based on trend-tracking firm, comScore. By comparison, online retailing in the U.S. climbed 13 percent to about $50 billion for the same quarter, effectively making ecommerce the fastest growing retail segment.

This form of information generally has online merchants happy at their prospects and store-based retailers concerned about trends like showrooming — where shoppers compare prices or even make purchases on a mobile device while standing at a physical store. (See “Showrooming Challenges Brick-and-Mortar Retailers.” ) But it might not be the case that the ecommerce and brick-and-mortar channels are somehow at odds, but instead that all of retailing has changed so significantly that, in a sense, there’s no true distinction between stations, at least in which the consumer is concerned.

If, in actuality, retail stations are somehow converging, it’s the traditional retailer that’s responsible for the most change. However, no merchant can go untouched.

Clients May See All Channels Just as Shopping

Consumers no longer find a distinction between offline and online shopping,” composed Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of advertisements and trade, in a recent whitepaper. “Whether it is searching on a laptop, browsing main street stores, or hanging out in the mall — it is all shopping.”

There’s absolutely no basic difference to the shopper if she looks at a product online and buys it in a store, or does the inverse viewing a product on a stand, simply to purchase it from her phone because it’s simply more convenient or, possibly, less expensive.

“When something can be economically shipped to anybody, anywhere, the question of where the sale takes place is quickly becoming moot,” compose Doug Stephens, a retail sector futurist and the creator of Retail Prophet, in a recent issue of Retail Environments magazine.

Convergence may mean that each and every store must compete with each other shop, irrespective of format. Ecommerce companies have recognized this, since from the start every online retailer has had to compete against big box stores and local specialty stores alike. But small or even midsize physical-store-based retailers who have enjoyed a sort of geographical monopoly are increasingly exposed to the net of retailers because of mobile devices and faster Internet connections.

Convergence can also affect how all retailers offer customer support and how brick-and-mortar retailers consider their physical locations.

Allergic Effects Client Service

Shoppers who see no distinction between ecommerce and offline buying might also have similar expectations for customer support in both channels.

For instance, shoppers in stores are accustomed to using an attentive clerk that they might talk to. In precisely the exact same manner, a shopper visiting an internet store may expect to have the ability to speak to an associate almost immediately via chat, phone, email, or perhaps social websites.

As yet another example, Google’s Ramaswamy wrote that contemporary shoppers often know as much as a shop’s salesperson about a given product or product class. Previously,”people came into shops with little to no understanding and relied upon a salesperson to advise them on what to purchase.”

By comparison,”today’s shoppers have become accustomed to doing their own research to find the most value from each dollar they invest, and to feel secure about the purchases they are making. With this power shift comes a excellent opportunity for retailers; people who use insights and tools from the net have the chance to close the gap between the clever online consumer as well as the offline merchant, and stick out in a competitive market,” Ramaswamy wrote.

To put it differently, Ramaswamy is suggesting that conventional retailers should post decent product information online so that they might continue to help inform shoppers.

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Convergence Impacts Branding

The convergence of electronic commerce — such as mobile — and in-store retailing can also significantly alter how brick-and-mortar retailers think about stock and branding, and the manner that primarily online retailers have a look at the advantages of having a physical place.

“In the long run,” composed Stephens,”sales of merchandise simply can not be the primary strategic purpose or metric for the [physical] store.”

“Until quite recently the principal purpose, form, and purpose of shops was to distribute goods. Shops were the principal and, oftentimes, the only means of availing supply of goods to a given market.”

Online shopping transformed that purpose. As a result of ecommerce and carriers such as FedEx, UPS, as well as the U.S. Postal Service, it’s almost easier to find a product in the ecommerce station than it’s from a shop, where a shopper must lug products around.

According to Stephens, this tendency can be viewed first hand in some brick-and-mortar retailers. “Some of the world’s biggest retailers are struggling with this jarring reality already,” Stephens wrote. “`Stack it high and watch it fly’ has turned into’Stack it low and hope it moves’ as big-box stores scramble to lower inventories in the face of declining sales.”

At exactly the exact same time, some major ecommerce companies are opening physical shops. For instance, online men’s clothing retailer Bonobos has begun to open physical shops.

Bonobos and other pure-play online retailers”realize that in order to’fully actualize’ their brands,” Stephens wrote,”they will need to animate a physical existence and visceral experience for their clients, to not move products but more seriously to move hearts and minds.”

Effectively, some online retailers are recognizing that they can expand their brands with real stores. For instance, online merchants that open a physical store often see an increase from Facebook fans from the geographical area around that shop. The physical shop, whatever it’s doing to the main point, is building the brand.

In short, since the offline and online shopping channels converge, pure-play ecommerce retailers might seem to open physical shops, and conventional stores should start to market online, if they haven’t already.

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Steve Case on SMB Ecommerce; Bigcommerce Investment

Steve Case, the co-founder of America Online, is by any measure an online visionary. His private equity company, Revolution, spent, in 2013, $40 million in Bigcommerce, a major platform for small-to-midsize businesses. I recently talked with him concerning that investment, in addition to his outlook on SMB ecommerce normally.

Practical Ecommerce: You are an astute, pioneering tech investor. Why invest in SMB ecommerce?

Steve Case: We look to invest in people and ideas that could change the world, and we look for large, swing-for-the-fences ideas. They could be small businesses now, but we feel that they may be large businesses over time because they are focused on disrupting large sectors of the market and impacting important aspects of people’s lives. That’s the beginning front.

In terms of why we are interested in ecommerce especially, only about 10 percent of retail today happens through ecommerce. That is growing and will continue to grow. We wanted to be well-positioned in that industry, so we made numerous ecommerce-related investments.

In addition, we believe that we’re starting to see the democratization of ecommerce. Some of the big players will continue to be important, but there is an opportunity for everyone to play whenever they have the tools which enable them to do so, both in terms of it being easy to start and then simple to scale.

PEC: By our account, there are approximately 600 ecommerce platforms — hosted and licensed. Your organization, via Revolution Growth, spent $40 million in Bigcommerce. Why did you select Bigcommerce and none of the others?

Case: We spoke to a number [of platforms] when we were attempting to understand the company. But we reasoned Bigcommerce had the product and the platform and the people and the spouses to emerge as the leader in the industry. They are those that we think are the winner. We strive to be helpful not only in terms of providing the investment funds, but also concerning working to help enlarge their teams or establish new strategic alliances and things like that.

We think Bigcommerce had the ideal solution. Some of this was because they had crafted the design of this platform in a really wise manner and been very thoughtful in attempting to determine ways to make it simple for people to begin and, too, easy for individuals to grow together with the platform and keep with the platform. As a company expands, as its needs expand, Bigcommerce can expand together.

Bigcommerce also admits this is the type of company where partnerships make sense. There is an old African proverb that in case you would like to go fast, you can go , but if you would like to go far, you must go together. That applies in the ecommerce area also. Instead of attempt to do everything themselves, Bigcommerce has attempted to create a platform that leverages the innovation happening across the ecosystem — such as open APIs so people can have apps in the Bigcommerce platform and partnering with payment providers as opposed to attempting to be a payment solution by themselves.

That open approach and platform approach was a key reason why we spent. Bigcommerce had the ideal strategy, had the ideal team, had the ideal platform, and had the beginnings of the perfect partnerships to emerge as the leader in this space.

PEC: as soon as you create a $40 million investment in a platform such as Bigcommerce, what do you do then? How closely are you currently involved?

Case: We do get involved with the business since, as I said, it is partially about the investment capital, but partially that which we try to do is work together with the firm, roll up our sleeves and try to be useful. In cases like this, I joined the board of Bigcommerce and have been involved in considering its partnership strategy, the role partners played. It was significant before; it is even more important now as we’re attempting to set a tapestry of alliances around Bigcommerce. That’s where we believe we can concentrate most of our efforts.

PEC: Many observers think that ecommerce for smaller businesses will be increasingly tricky. They mention the growing dominance of enormous marketplace retailers, such as Amazon and Walmart. How can a smaller ecommerce firm prosper in that environment?

Case: I am bullish on the role which these smaller players can perform. I certainly recognize that there are a number of dominant players such as Amazon and Walmart. I believe they’ll continue to have an important function. But we’re beginning to see customer preference for a vast array of merchants, not only a few.

It is not that surprising to me since we have seen the exact same type of evolution over the last couple of decades in different sectors of the market — things like restaurants, where there are surely some big players such as McDonald’s, Chipotle, and many others. But there is also a continuing, important role for smaller restaurants. Perhaps a chef has one or two restaurants. Despite the fact that the large players have grown quickly, there’s been a significant role for the market, specialized companies which are providing a different sort of experience.

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Similarly, we have seen that idea of this long-tail with content, there are certainly important media companies which have a substantial presence on the market. But we have also seen an explosion in voices, an explosion through sites and Twitter and Facebook and other social networking platforms. There are now far more people providing content — being basically journalists — sharing their point of view than a decade ago.

That proliferation of voices suggests that customer desire isn’t simply a couple of media companies to perform that role, not only a couple of restaurant chains to nourish them, but a wide selection of providers. We believe the same dynamic is currently happening in ecommerce.

The arrival of platforms such as Bigcommerce has allowed everybody to engage with quite robust solutions that even a couple of decades ago would have caused plenty of money and taken plenty of time. Now you can be up and running quickly and inexpensively through Bigcommerce.

I believe that will accelerate the adoption around ecommerce and accelerate this democratization of ecommerce and the maturation of the exact same long-tail phenomenon that we have seen in sectors like content too now applying to trade.

PEC: Let us talk about your investment company, Revolution. Can you tell us about the firm?

Case: We began Revolution about a decade ago. We have two components of it: Revolution Ventures, which focuses on early-stage investment, investing in startups, and Revolution Growth, which concentrates on later-stage investing, what we think of as speedups. In Bigcommerce, given the scale that they had when we begin talking to them, the $40 million investment came from Revolution development. It’s the largest investment we have made from that fund. It shows our commitment to ecommerce and, especially, our dedication to Bigcommerce.

What we look for are terrific entrepreneurs with disruptive ideas which have the potential to alter how we live our daily lives and restructure — disrupt, if you will — crucial sectors of the market.

We look at things in a rather wide context. We have invested in dozens of companies over the last ten years. It’s been a good deal of fun. This is informed by my experience as a co-founder of America Online, or AOL, now 30 years back.

We believed that the Web would become part of daily life. But, at the moment, only 3% of people were online. When we said we wanted to get America on the internet, we knew it is going to take some time. It took us a long time, but ultimately people realized the significance of it.

Finally, we could set up the partnerships which propel us. The Internet took off. At its peak, AOL profited from this, as more than half of all of the online traffic in the USA in the late 1990s went through AOL. We saw firsthand, as an entrepreneur, the energy of an idea, the energy of gambling on a business comparatively early that had a big idea, and the power of partnerships which encompassed AOL.

That exact same philosophy applies to what we do . We search for those breakthrough ideas from terrific entrepreneurs who’ve built great teams, but we can help them choose those groups into the next level, helping recruit on the people front. We believe in partnerships, so perhaps there are ways we can leverage the community.

We want to be helpful on the policy front since we believe the next wave of companies, a third wave of the world wide web, will have more of a relationship with authorities, as buyers or regulators.

Those are the chances we search for, where we believe in the idea, consider it has the potential to be a substantial company. We also think that we can add some value in certain discreet areas beyond simply being an investor.

PEC: You mentioned at the beginning you had spent in other ecommerce companies, along with Bigcommerce. Are you able to state what those are?

Case: There are a wide variety of companies. We really were involved in the arrival of ecommerce now over two decades ago. It’s amusing to consider now, but I recall going to conventions back then where there would be a fairly vigorous debate whether ecommerce could take off. There were clearly some bullish views, however, the cynical view was that no one could ever feel comfortable entering their credit card online due to the fear of hackers.

Now, we are at a stage where not only do people willingly put their credit card online, but they ask the suppliers, the merchants, to store the credit card information so that they won’t have to input it again. Now they do not mind those merchants tracking their purchases so that they can recommend other products which may be of interest. It just shows you how quickly this whole phenomenon has developed.

During the past few years, we have had a few different investments, especially in ecommerce, from our expansion fund. One is a company named Lolly Wolly Doodle that has pioneered the use of social media — originally Facebook but has expanded — as a means to create demand for their apparel products, which target young women.

We have also invested in CustomInk, that was in the group t-shirt company — the ability to purchase 50 or 100 of these customized t-shirts. That is growing quite quickly, and they are moving into a few other sectors.

We have also, through our partnership activity, Revolution Ventures, spent in Booker, which will be supplying a booking platform for various different providers.

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Though our biggest investment is in Bigcommerce for the reasons I said.

PEC: We’ve got a few questions related to macro problems that could impact the continued development of ecommerce, especially for smaller businesses. The first one, online payments, you have alluded to. Credit card processing statements are hard to comprehend; credit card processing charges may change from 1 merchant account provider to another. Fraud is always a danger. What is the future of online payments?

Case: The entire online sector keeps growing rapidly. Online payments have to be parcel that. It will have to continue to evolve so it is easy and secure for merchants in addition to being suitable and affordable for clients.

A strategy at Bigcommerce is to not do this on your own but to partner with other businesses. There are already partnerships involving Bigcommerce and companies like PayPal and Stripe. Lately, Bigcommerce did another round of investment, and one of the shareholders at the business was American Express, which is just another example of a mainstream payment provider recognizing that things are shifting in the trade space, especially in the ecommerce area.

PEC: The next macro query relates to sales taxation. The change in brick-and-mortar retailing to online has placed local taxing districts in a fiscal bind. There is a mishmash of state legislation to deal with the matter, which complicates the issue for merchants. Congress has gotten involved but has not enacted laws to date. What is the answer for ecommerce sales taxes?

Case: I had been involved 20-plus years back in trying to have the Congress to not taxation ecommerce since, in the first days, it was important that there not be some limitations put in place or bottlenecks or barriers put in place which may slow the development of ecommerce.

It’s still, now, only 10 percent of retail, but, obviously, it is growing rapidly. It is not surprising that Congress is taking a new look at it. I don’t know just what they have to do. I have been involved recently in talks with Congress on those issues, but I think, finally, it is more of a national solution. It isn’t the type of patchwork of inconsistent state laws as you referenced.

PEC: Anything else?

Case: The reason we are so excited is we have seen the development of ecommerce over the last couple of decades. We have seen it go from an idea that had its cynics and critics that did not think it would ever get off the floor to being a pretty considerable industry and a fairly significant and growing sector of trade all around. But there is still a great deal of chances to grow.

We are big believers in enabling merchants to be players in ecommerce. That is a key driver behind our investment with Bigcommerce. We want to ensure everyone has the resources to compete on a global stage and do it inexpensively.

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How to Measure 2024 Holiday Ecommerce Marketing

U.S. online retail sales generally grew throughout 2024. And many Web merchants have enjoyed increased holiday sales up to now. Nonetheless, smart companies always search for ways to improve, and understanding if your vacation marketing worked or is working is a fantastic place to begin trying to find new or better chances.

At the time of writing, the 2024 Christmas shopping season hadn’t completely finished, but there’s still a great deal of good data showing growth. By way of instance, comScore, the trend tracking firm, reported that 2024 vacation ecommerce sales grew about 23 percent on Thanksgiving Day, 26 percent on Black Friday, 17 percent on Cyber Monday, and 15 percent on Green Monday — relative to the very same days this past year.

On December 10, comScore estimated that about $35.4 billion was spent on ecommerce purchases in america for the holiday buying season to date. That’s something like a 15-percent increase from the exact same 2013 period.

As online vendors review their companies’ success, it’ll be important to understand exactly what helped them increase sales relative to this general trend.

As online vendors review their companies’ success, it’ll be important to understand exactly what helped them increase sales relative to this general trend.

Which Departments Contributed?

Perhaps the first question to ask when assessing holiday ecommerce success is,”Which sections contributed to the earnings?”

To get a midsize ecommerce business, there’s very likely to be a marketing department, a purchasing department, and an operations division. At some little ecommerce businesses, a couple of folks might do all the jobs. Nonetheless, it’s necessary to ask how all those sections of the business done. In the context of a discussion of how effective marketing was, first understand how other areas of the business might also have impacted performance.

By way of instance, how many new products did the company add since last year? Can a larger product selection with increased inbound organic website traffic give shoppers more options for adding to a buy? Was the firm able to generate a better free delivery offer due to improvements in the delivery procedure? In that case, how did that change impact sales?

The aim here is to estimate how much your earnings may have grown if you did no advertising in any way. Or put another way, in the absence of marketing, what would complete sales have been? Once this baseline is established, it’s possible to quantify how much promotion added to the top and bottom line.

Measure Tactics; Believe in Attribution Chains

Next, begin to appear at individual marketing tactics and feature sales or other sorts of conversions.

For instance, one retailer’s recent Woobox campaign gave customers an opportunity to enter to win one of ten $100 gift certificates to use on the corporation’s website or in other stations. Everyone who entered the competition also got a coupon code. The effort garnered 5,615 entries, 18,004 page views, and about $1,800 in earnings from the coupon codes.

Was the Woobox tactic successful? Maybe. It cost at least $600 — that is the $1,000 face value of the ten, $100 gift certificates, minus the merchant’s average gross — and generated only about $1,800 in earnings. If you stopped measuring at this stage, it may not be the most effective of vacation tactics.

Fortunately, that isn’t where the campaign finished. Of the 5,615 entrances, about a third were new to the merchant’s email list, and were shipped following holiday offers. A number of the new shoppers made purchases, totaling roughly $5,000. Marketers will surely want to attribute a few of those earnings into the email message that led most directly to the transaction. Nevertheless, the online competition deserves some of the credit (attribution) also, since it was what added the consumer to the email list that later result in a sale.

This notion of advertising tactics working together in order to create a sale is something known as an attribution chain.

When it comes to deciding if your vacation ecommerce marketing worked, an individual needs to look at not only the previous action a client took, but provide attribution to each of the strategies that contributed to it.

Use Key Performance Indicators

Once a marketer has defined several attribution chains and looked at how various tactics impacted sales directly, it may also be very helpful to review the business’s overall performance relative to key performance indicators.

In 2013, Contributing Editor Dale Traxler proposed 21 KPIs which will help online sellers monitor and track business success. Here are such 21 KPIs.

  1. Unique traffic.
  2. Total visits.
  3. Page viewpoints.
  4. New visitors.
  5. New clients.
  6. Total orders daily, week, month.
  7. Time on site per visit.
  8. Page views per visit.
  9. Checkout abandonment.
  10. Cart abandonment.
  11. Return rate.
  12. Gross margin.
  13. Customer support open cases.
  14. Pay-per-click cost per purchase.
  15. Pay-per-click total conversions.
  16. Average order value.
  17. Facebook”talking about this” and fresh enjoys.
  18. Twitter retweets and new followers.
  19. Amazon evaluations, response and order turnaround time, and open cases.
  20. Email available, click, and conversion rates.
  21. Referral sources: percentage from search, direct, email, pay-per-click, other.

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Language Translation Tools for Ecommerce Sites

The world wide web has made it much easier to market products and services globally. But effortless access with no engaging customer experience can’t guarantee sales. Presenting blog content in a local language is an integral part of providing an engaging experience.

In certain regions, launching a website without localized content could be deadly, as customers ignore brands which don’t honor and encourage local requirements. This makes translation important for retailers which want to generate sales globally.

There are several tools available that help retailers interpret their website content. This post will cover a few of the more popular ones. The translation setup will be different across merchants, based on the kind of platform they use.

1. Merchants With a Hosted or Licensed Platform

A huge proportion of merchants use a hosted platform supplier for their ecommerce shop. Oftentimes the provider provides translation tools that the merchants can use.

By way of instance, Shopify includes several themes which are translation ready. These topics have the”Edit Language” option that allows changing the language. For themes that aren’t translation prepared, merchants can use hosted, machine-translation tools, like google Translate.

Many hosted platforms trust the shopper to manually interpret content through the Google Website Translator plugin, whereby retailers set up the plugin on their websites and shoppers may then access, to machine-translate the content in their language. This plugin can be added to any site and supports over 90 languages. Volusion, by way of instance, supports Google Website Translator as does Shopify and lots of more. Microsoft’s Bing Translator also provides a similar plugin.

Microsoft’s Bing translation tool delivers a plugin, to put in on sites.

Magento, the open source licensed platform, provides language packs which translate English text into the desired language. By way of instance, tags such as”Login” and”Password” will show in the interpreted language when the language pack was deployed.

But merchants using Magento can also write custom code for translation using locale files, which have strings with interpreted content which correspond to a certain locale (area and language).

2. Merchants with ‘Best-of-breed’ Platform

The term”best of breed” means that the merchant has taken the very best products for the various functional areas and then incorporated them to make a platform. These operational areas could be, by way of instance, front-end shop, content management, taxation, and order management.

Within this environment, the content management solution is responsible for producing the content that is interpreted. It’s possible that the content management solution also integrates with another best-of-breed translation solution or service. But since all of the content is authored in the content management system, until it’s published, it gets interpreted, either by individual translation (to ensure accuracy) or through machine-translation tools.

By way of instance, a large, enterprise merchant may select Oracle’s ATG for ecommerce and Adobe’s Experience Supervisor for content management. Both are best-of-breed goods in their respective categories. Adobe Experience Supervisor includes a translator tool which utilizes dictionaries created in various languages to perform the translations. The application works with Bing Translator or by integrating with any cloud-based translation support.

Another best-of-breed product that may be used by retailers in this class is SDL, which provides a rich machine-translation environment which allows use of a translation memory. This makes a comprehensive database of the content which is already translated and helps expedite future postings by performing majority of their work using the machine and minimizing the translation effort by a human. The item also includes comprehensive analytics to report on metrics such as word counts, costs, and quality compliance.

SDL provides a machine-translation environment that uses”translation memory”

3. Merchants With a Custom Platform

Many merchants have built their very own ecommerce platform or hired a contractor to build it for them. In these examples, the merchants can use one of the above approaches by incorporating with Google Website Translator Plugin (or comparable ) or using a best-of-breed solution. If the merchant prefers, she can also build a complete, customized translation procedure from the programming language of her choice such as Java, C, etc. Or she can use open-source translation tools such as Zanata and Moses to construct the translation capability.

Zanata is a online system for translators, content creators, and developers.

Irrespective of the approach, involving human translators in the method helps ensure accuracy. Humans that are knowledgeable about the target language can tweak the material for cultural orientation, which is a larger challenge for translation applications.