Three researchers from Ohio State University set out to study the impact of the so-called “Amazon Tax” on ecommerce companies in 2014. Many states have passed laws that require large online retailers collect and remit sales tax. “The Amazon Tax”: Empirical Evidence From Amazon and Main Street Retailers, found that Amazon purchases were cut by 9.5% in California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania after the implementation of an online sales tax.
Spin artists use this study to claim that sales taxes kill online commerce. But here’s the thing: these same households spent 19.8% more on other online retailers, and 2 percent more at bricks-and-mortar shops. Consumers were more likely to shop at other merchants for big-ticket items (300 and up). Online spending did not decrease due to taxes. The study showed that online shoppers are price sensitive.
This study is positive news for ecommerce, but it’s bad news for lobbyists who want to keep an unfair system where physical stores collect sales tax and online businesses do not. Congress has tried to solve this problem for years. But lobbyists have tried to kill every bill, including H.R. 2775, The Remote Transactions Parity (RTPA) Act was introduced to the House of Representatives on the 1st of July 2015.
Representative Jason Chaffetz, Utah’s sponsor of the RTPA, has a lot to offer. The bill requires that sales tax technology be provided by commercial businesses and paid for by the state. The bill has a phased four-year process to make sure that the smallest ecommerce companies have the best time to comply with and adapt. The bill will place the burden of proof and expenses on the software provider, rather than on the retailer in the event of an audit.
This deal is far superior to any previously offered. The RTPA will not have any impact on the success or growth of ecommerce businesses. Amazon collects sales tax from 25 states. Despite this, Q2 2015 saw $23.18 billion in sales. This is a 20% increase over last year. To the delight of investors, Amazon made $92 million profit and product sales increased by nearly $2 billion over Q2 2014.
The Quill Corp. case against North Dakota is 23 years old and has created an internet tax haven. The justices ruled remote sellers are not required to collect or remit local sales tax unless they have nexus with the state in which the customer resides. There was no software available that could handle sales taxes in 10,000 jurisdictions at the time. Software automates the whole process. Collecting taxes in 5,000 jurisdictions can be as easy as collecting in one. Justice Anthony Kennedy recently indicated that the Court was ready to reconsider the Quill decision.
The sales tax debate has become irrelevant as all commerce are ecommerce. Many brick-and-mortar stores are moving to the internet. Pure ecommerce businesses have also moved to the internet.
The distinction between offline and online retail is just as blurred as the argument to tax physical businesses but not their online counterparts. It’s not a doomsday scenario that the spin machine has spun; it’s the right thing to do.
Five Easy Ways to Increase Ecommerce Sales
It is not easy to run an online shop. First, you need to create a website. Next, you will need to manage and invest in your inventory. This can be a costly undertaking (see Amazon). You’ll be broke by the time you have your website up and running. Who has the money to pay a marketing agency to help their products reach the world wide web? I know that I don’t.
However, I was able to find simple ways to show my store and make sales. These are some simple rules that can help you market your store without spending a lot of money.
Make checkout seamless
Nothing is more frustrating than being held up at the check-out. We are not 1996, when dial-up internet was used by a few people. People will move their eyes to other places if a YouTube video doesn’t load within 10 seconds. People will complain about slow service in a brick-and-mortar store but they’ll accept it. You’ve lost the sale in your eCommerce store.
You must make checkout simple and seamless with just a few clicks, unlike the big-box store that can spend money on extra cashiers to speed up checkout. Customers are less likely to abandon their order if it’s easy to check out. Checkouts that are quick = more money in the bank These are some tips to simplify your checkout and increase online sales.
You don’t need to require your users to register to view your site.
Although contact information can be helpful, research has shown that customers abandon their carts when they need to register. Allow them to use the guest checkout option. Let shoppers register and save their information. They will be able to checkout faster when they come back to shop, which will help them in the future.
You can make the checkout process more visual by including phases.
Split the checkout into stages so customers can feel like they are moving forward. Customers will see that the checkout is progressing and feel closer to completion if it is visually displayed.
You probably don’t have any developers available to help you make this happen. Shopify is one of the many companies that can help you.www.shopify.comThis is a list of ) that provide one-click plugin products to help you with this task.
Make product recommendations at checkout.
Upsell, upsell and upsell!
Amazon’s product recommendation engine works brilliantly. Amazon displays a number of related products just before I pay. What is the result? The result? Upsell your customers on similar products right before they pay. Offer them deals that they can’t find anywhere else. Persuade them that they must have the warranty, the cleaning solution, or whatever else you are offering. You have a psychological advantage because they are already in a buying mode.
Get Products for Free
Influencer marketing is a great option for those with limited marketing budgets. Influencers can be a powerful source of referrals online. You can drive tons of traffic to your site if you connect with the right people.
For me, Instagram is my favorite platform for influencer outreach. People will promote your brand if you give them the product free of charge.
To find influencers, I use the following simple process:
1) Go to www.shopify.com/domains Type in keywords that are relevant to your product.
2) The platform will return all the content associated with this hashtag.
3) Go through all the posts (this can take time) and find those with high engagement.
4) Highly engaged posts are usually the result of a large and engaged following.
5) The majority of influencers include a contact email address in their bio. You can reach them directly if they do not have one.
Let them know that you love their content, and ask if they would be interested in your product. It can be time-consuming, but it will pay off.
Make use of online ads
Social media can be a great way to close sales and promote your business at a very affordable price. It targets customers that are most suited to your store. That’s the beauty of social media. It doesn’t require you to do anything. You can simply buy the ads and social media will do the rest.
Many social media platforms offer budgeting options that allow you to set a daily budget. Some start at $1, and your ad stops running when the budget is exhausted. This is a great way for you to keep within your budget while still reaching potential customers online.
Facebook ads can be a very cost-effective way to find customers. Mark Zuckerberg posted a status update a few weeks back that stated Facebook had achieved a new milestone. 1 billion people logged in simultaneously for the first time ever in the history the network. 1,000,000 users. Trust me, your audience is on Facebook.
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Create a loyal fan community
Your time should be spent building a network of fans. You must have a social media account if you want to run a business. You can get free marketing tools by sharing your page or liking it.
Your social media accounts should be kept up-to-date. You can post sales announcements, coupons and new products to your Facebook page. Your fans will quickly spread the word about your products and services if they share your information. You can build email lists and launch email marketing campaigns. You can find tons of online email newsletter creators that will help you design and send your fans emails.
Create high quality content
The best marketing technique you can use is quality content. Your customers should feel valued just like in a brick-and-mortar store. High quality content that speaks directly and not just to them creates that connection.
Tell customers why you believe your products are important to them. Customers will be just as annoyed if your content tries to sell them products. Be original, authentic, and you are yourself!
Ecommerce would be easy if it were that simple. Ecommerce requires careful execution and strategic thinking. Making small mistakes like an inefficient checkout process can lead to serious financial losses. With careful implementation, you can make an Ecommerce store that generates substantial revenue.