Jun 16
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Holding consumers’ attention in the digital world is a challenging task, especially for online businesses. In fact, the increasing prominence of social media and heightened internet use has made it difficult for us to stay focused. According to Microsoft Corporation, the average attention span has shrunk from about twelve seconds to just eight in more than a decade.

We are consuming information faster but less thoroughly as soon as we go online. Researchers from Microsoft suggest that changes in attention span could be due to the brain adapting to evolving technology. While this statistic about attention span has been talked about (and disputed), the facts show that the user experience and quality of content has a critical impact on how long a customer engages with your product, web page, blog post or advertisement.

Even if research suggest you only have eight seconds to attract, engage and inform your customers and prospects, the following are three simple ways you can optimize your online business to capture a person’s attention:

De-clutter
Too many distractions-worthy elements like hyperlinks, buttons, or alternate pathways provide too many options for visitors to leave the process you want them to go through. Your website needs to be designed to deliver a clear, direct and singular message. Visitors should see why they should do business with you and the benefit of it. Proper formatting and appropriate typography can also go a long way towards ensuring the most important parts of your copy stand out and are actually read by potential customers.

Test Headlines and Call-to-Actions
It’s important to have a clear headline with a unique value proposition. Well thought out headlines can increase conversion rates and even time spent on a webpage. An effective call-to-action also makes it incredibly easy for your visitors to make the choice to move forward in their relationship with your brand and convert into customers. In other words, if the first sentence does not stop them, they won’t read the second and get to “Buy Now.”

Avoid Long Load Times
Your site’s load time is crucial if you want to capture any of your website visitors’ attention. A 100-millisecond delay in load time can actually result in a 7% loss in conversion. Long load times also increase bounce rates, lower rankings and are frustrating to your site visitors. But, sites that load within five seconds see an increase of 70% in average sessions times.

Summary:

  • De-clutter: What are the reasons customers should buy from you? Find what those are and make them clear.
  • Test Headlines and Call-to-Actions: Test different approaches to see what resonates most with your visitors and continue to improve.
  • Avoid Long Load Times: Increasing your website speed will increase traffic, social engagement and, most importantly, conversions.

While the abundance of technology seems to be hurting attention spans overall, it also appears to improve consumers ability to both multitask and prioritize. With only eight seconds to capture a person’s attention, content and messages need to be instantly understood, relevant and interesting. This can mean the difference between capturing attention and closing a sale or losing attention and missing an opportunity.

Jun 9
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Deciding between an in-house or outsourced e-commerce solution is becoming a constant dilemma for many online businesses. Selecting the right solution is just as important as the product or service being sold. But, how does a business know whether it is in their best interest to build their own in-house solution versus outsourcing it?

First, there are many things to take into consideration when building your own in-house e-commerce solution:

  • Website development and maintenance
  • Hosting space and secure storage
  • Payment Options
  • Merchant account and payment gateway to process payments
  • Credit card processing fees
  • PCI Compliance
  • Order Management
  • Product Fulfillment
  • Fraud Protection
  • Language & Localization
  • Subscription Management
  • Customer Support
  • Analytics & Reporting
  • Coupon & Discount Options
  • Affiliate Network
  • Tax calculation, collection, and remittance
  • Cross-border tax management
  • Compliance with country-specific payment laws and regulations
  • Refund request and chargebacks

Does your business have the time or the money to spend months in development? What about the skills and resources to build an entire e-commerce solution that is stable and secure?

One of the biggest reasons why many online businesses outsource e-commerce needs is because it is more cost effective than building an in-house solution. Outsourcing e-commerce needs allow businesses to focus on their products or services rather than investing time, money, and resources into developing and maintaining an entire e-commerce system.

Third-party e-commerce platforms (like BMT Micro) simplify everything because they are designed to save businesses time and money. As more shoppers become willing to spend their money online, outsourcing helps businesses deliver a consistent quality of services, enhance customer satisfaction and maximize sales.

Here at BMT Micro, Inc., we offer a full-service e-commerce solution that will meet all of your business requirements. Our proprietary systems (all created in-house) have everything you need to sell software online. We also offer our clients personalized choices and solutions that other e-commerce providers are unwilling or unable to provide.

With BMT Micro, your customers will enjoy online purchasing designed from the ground up to be intuitive and trouble-free. Plus, we can customize our plans to suit your business needs! If you would like to learn more about our services or if you have questions, please feel free to contact our vendor services via email at vendors@bmtmicro.com or visit our website at www.bmtmicro.com.

Jun 2
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Product descriptions are an important part of the conversion process. They are considered a final point in the conversion funnel, and a major reason why some users may (or may not) convert.

Your product descriptions should effectively sell your products and entice users to click buy or try. These are opportunities your business has to communicate value and highlight why shoppers should purchase a product. Good product descriptions also increase sales and drive significantly more traffic to your site.

Unfortunately, the inability for consumers to touch products during the purchase decision-making process still poses a major challenge for online businesses. So, it’s your responsibility to address the needs and expectations for your target audience in your product copy.

Features vs. Benefits
Potential customers are more interested in what a product does for them than what the product does. How does it improve their lives? Which problems does it take away? It’s important to tell them exactly how a particular feature is useful for them. And, spell out the benefits of these features in each product description on your website.

A feature is a fact about your product, while a benefit explains how a feature is useful for your customer (e.g., improves productivity). Before you starting writing, you may also want to include some references to how your product avoids things like glitches, hassles, and problems.

Readability
Studies show that consumers read only 16% of the words on the average web page. So how do you entice shoppers to stop skimming and actually start reading your product copy? Since most consumers are skimming the Internet and do not read word-by-word, use bullet points. The order of your points is also important. Get them to notice the important points by listing the primary benefits first.

Also, make sure to use larger fonts and well-contrasted font colors so your product descriptions are easily readable and stand out on the page. Your web design and content writing should work together and strengthen each other.

Optimize For Search Engines
Product descriptions should be descriptive and not deceive searchers with content that is irrelevant or spammed with keyword stuffing. Search engines want to provide its users with the best, highest-quality content found on the web. The problem is too many Internet marketers have been looking for the short-term win (from keyword stuffing to spammy link building).

To drive more consumers to your site, consider optimizing keyword usage in your product descriptions and using key phrases in your headline, subheadings, and body text. Also, optimize your product images by using key phrases in the file name, image description, and alt tag.

Well thought out product descriptions can increase click-through rates and even time spent on a webpage. Many businesses fail to realize is the significant role they play in attracting consumers to websites and search engine results. Don’t make this mistake and overlook the opportunities great product descriptions can bring to your online business.

May 26
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The ability to sell and deliver your game online is typically one of the toughest aspects of game development. But, this has become a lot easier in recent years due to digital distribution changing the way we buy and sell video games.

In digital gaming, one of the most popular distribution channels for developers is Valve’s Steam platform. Steam started for commercial games in 2004 and was extended in 2012 to include Steam Greenlight, a service for independent games to be published. Due to Steam’s size and popularity, it can be an important component in an e-commerce strategy. The following are a few advantages of Steam:

Advantages:

  • Steam has over 40 million players worldwide.
  • Steam takes care of hosting and bandwidth costs.
  • Steam offers non-exclusive contracts.

But despite its popularity, Steam does have some disadvantages.

Disadvantages:

  • Valve doesn’t publish their commission rates, but it is likely that you will be paying at least 30% royalties for each transaction.
  • The Steam client is a required download in order to purchase and play your game. This can be a barrier to purchase if users do not want to download it.
  • A common misconception is that Steam by itself will handle marketing for you. Hundreds of developers are all trying to get their game onto Steam, which leads to discoverability issues. This means it’s easy to drown in a sea of other games when trying to promote your game’s page.
  • While there are some games that do enormously well, a closer look at the sales data reveals that most games on Steam actually don’t do very well at all (gamesindustry.biz).
  • Valve is getting rid of their Greenlight program (where fans can vote on what games they want to see on Steam) this year by introducing Steam Direct. If the Steam Direct changes go through, getting your game on Steam will costs between USD$100 to USD$5,000 (Valve has not yet announced exactly how much). And, if your game doesn’t sell, Steam keeps the fees.

Selling Your Game Directly With An E-Commerce Partner
Steam is not the only viable option for digital distribution in the gaming industry. Your website is the best place showcase your game, without the limitations of marketplaces and distribution channels such as Steam. Working with a direct e-commerce partner provides you with the means of setting up a storefront to handle selling your game through your own site.

The benefits of doing this are:

  • Typically, commission costs for direct e-commerce channels provide better margins than Steam. You get to keep over 90% of the direct sales money. Not 70%, not 80% but 90% (Cliffski).
  • You can generate direct traffic from search engines and media publications with your website.
  • You can set up an account with these direct e-commerce services right now. Most have zero sign up fees, and it can be done almost instantly (Cliffski).
  • You get the customer’s email address. With these email addresses, you can send newsletters, press releases, etc. to every person that has ever purchased your game.

While there are some advantages to getting your game on Steam, it should not be the only component of your e-commerce strategy. It may take a while to get enough people to purchase your game through your website. But, if you drive enough traffic to your website, you will begin to see all of the benefits from selling your game directly.

Here at BMT Micro, Inc., we offer a full-service e-commerce solution that will meet all of your business requirements. Our proprietary systems (all created in-house) have everything you need to sell your game or software online. If you would like to learn more about our services or if you have questions, please feel free to contact our vendor services via email at vendors@bmtmicro.com or visit our website at www.bmtmicro.com.

Interested in signing up with BMT Micro today? If you would like to go ahead and explore what working with a direct e-commerce partner is like, you can do so by signing up here: New Developer Sign-up. Please note: you can sign up and create an account with no costs or commitment. You are under no obligation when signing up with us. BMT Micro charges a % of the commission for each sale so if you never sell anything, you do not owe anything.

May 19
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The summer months are just around the corner for the northern hemisphere. Is your business prepared?

As the temperature begins to rise, most businesses experience a traditional decrease in sales during the summer months. Some reports show that July is the slowest month for e-commerce – down 30% from top sales months like December. However, this downtime isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

There are many ways businesses can reduce or eliminate the impact a slump can have on sales and profitability to drive their business forward for the rest of the year.

Prepare for the holiday rush
Although it may feel entirely too early to be talking about the holiday season, anyone will tell you that it’s impossible to be too prepared for the busiest and most profitable time of the year. With the day-to-day hustle of running a business, it can be easy to forget approaching holidays. But the last quarter of the year sees the most increase in the number of orders and average order size. Planning ahead is always better sooner rather than later and it will ensure that your business has all the materials ready to make the most of the holiday rush. Plus, having everything in place and ready to go will reduce your stress and make the season go more smoothly.

Create New Content
In order to connect with your prospects, get them to your site, educate them in their buying decision, and convert those prospects into customers – you need a strategy for your content marketing. Things get busy as the holiday season gets closer and your content needs to stay fresh, relevant, and distinctive. Creating new content will be the last thing on your mind so use this downtime to prepare content ahead of time for the holidays. Your design and graphics are other important factors that will help tie your campaigns together and keep them consistent. Getting this done early can be a major task of your shoulders when a busy sales season comes around.

Reconnect & Grow
When things get busy, it’s easy to fall out of touch. Summer is a great time to reconnect and check in on customers you haven’t heard from in a while. Use the summer to build relationships with existing customers and stay connected with your community. Your customers can be one of the best low-cost advertising investments you can make. If you create a customer experience that actually adds value it will ensure a positive reputation with them going forward.

It can be frustrating to see sales slowly drop, but the fact of the matter is every business goes through slumps. Use the downtime to your advantage and make use of the off-season to recharge your business.

If you are looking for more ways to improve your online sales this year, BMT Micro is here to help too. We have a reliable, cost-effective solution that is flexible enough to meet your needs now and well into the future. We have several plans for you to choose from, or we can customize our plans to suit your needs. If you have any questions or if you are interested in learning more about our offerings please contact our vendor services at vendors@bmtmicro.com.