Feb 17
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Periodically, we like to highlight and review products for which BMT Micro acts as reseller or payment processor. With this Product Profile, we are going to be highlighting our Embroidery vendors and their products.

What is Embroidery?
By definition, “embroidery is the handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. Today, embroidery is most often seen on caps, hats, coats, blankets, dress shirts, denim, stockings, and golf shirts. Embroidery is available with a wide variety of thread or yarn color. The basic techniques or stitches on surviving examples of the earliest embroidery—chain stitch, buttonhole or blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch—remain the fundamental techniques of hand embroidery today.”

            

[Source: Pinterest]

Typically, when people think about embroidery they associate it with generations before them. However, embroidery is a beautiful skill that is making a comeback. Today’s embroidery consists of everything from quilts to clutches to clothing, and more. There has even been a resurgence of embroidery within the fashion world. The distinctive feature has recently been unveiled in pre-fall and fall collections by well-established brands like Valentino and Gucci. So, you should definitely get used to seeing embroidery around more.

[Source: Valentino]

If embroidery interests you and you want to try out the handicaft on your own, check out the embroidery patterns offered by the following BMT Micro vendors:

If you are a vendor and would like to see your product highlighted or reviewed, please contact us for more information!

Feb 10
Reading Time: 2 minutes

  

Online businesses face a number of hurdles in order to accept payments from their customers. For that reason, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the basics of e-commerce and the terminology. Two key components that allow businesses to accept payments online are merchant accounts and payment gateways. Having a proper understanding of what these key elements are and why they are needed can help lower costs as a business expands.

What is a Payment Gateway?
A payment gateway allows a business to process credit, debit and alternative payments online. Just like a physical point of sales terminal at a brick and mortar retail store, the payment gateway is used for facilitating online transactions and helps with authorization. Payment gateways play an intermediary role between the transactions processed on a website and the payment processor. For security reasons, transaction information cannot be transmitted directly from a website to a payment processor.

How it works: The payment gateway is the first place a transaction goes once a customer submits their payment on a checkout page. The payment then goes to the payment processor and on through the credit card network. After, the payment reaches the customer’s credit card issuer for authorization. If approved, the payment will make its way from the customer’s credit card into the merchant account.

What is a Merchant Account?
In order to process transactions from a website using a payment gateway, a merchant account is needed. A merchant account enables online businesses to accept multiple forms of payment, including credit cards, debit cards, and ACH payments. It is a bank account that is specifically designed for the deposit of funds within an electronic payment transaction. Before a business receives funds in their normal bank account, all approved payments are transferred into the merchant account. Without one, the approved payments have nowhere to go.

There are several merchant account providers out there to suit any businesses’ processing needs. Make sure to choose the right provider that offers the best possible rate and fees for your business.

Full-service e-commerce providers, like BMT Micro, also make accepting payments easier by offering a merchant account and a payment gateway all in one. With BMT Micro, all sales are processed through our merchant accounts so you are not required to have your own merchant account (or even a PayPal account). We handle it all and make payment processing much simpler!

If you have any questions or if you would like to learn more about the services we offer, please contact our vendor services via emails at vendors@bmtmicro.com for more information.

Feb 3
Reading Time: 2 minutes

  

Poor customer service is the fastest way to lose customers and can hurt your business more than you think. Businesses are losing an excess of $80 billion per year in the US and $300 billion worldwide through poor customer service. 89% of consumers who experience poor service will switch to another brand. What’s more, nearly 7 in 10 consumers (68%) said they would not go back once they switched.

It’s clear that undervaluing customer service is a risky strategy. Poor customer service is expensive and the following are long-term costs that can lead to a business’ failure:

1. Damaged Reputation
Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Your reputation is what establishes your brand and drives revenue growth. To a large degree your reputation is a measure of trust and unfortunately, a bad one can stick around for a long time.

Today’s consumers are quick to share negative feedback when they have a bad experience with a business. In a recent study, 95% of respondents said they usually tell at least one other person about a bad customer experience with a company, while 54% said they share it with at least 5 other people.

2. Conversion Rates Are Impacted & Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) Drops
Poor customer service kills conversion rates. It directly affects whether or not consumers actually complete a purchase they set out to make. In fact, 78% of consumers have abandoned a purchase that they intended to make because of poor customer service.

9 out of 10 consumers say they’re willing to pay more to ensure a good customer experience and as much as 70% will continue to do business when a complaint is resolved. Keeping current customers costs considerably less than acquiring new ones, and poor customer service can destroy your average customer lifetime value.

3. Increased Price Sensitivity
63.9% of consumers consider customer service to be more important than price when deciding whether or not to do business with a company. And 55% would actually pay more to guarantee better service. But, poor customer service also directly affects how sensitive consumers are to a change in price.

Research from TARP Worldwide, published in Customer Experience 3.0, found that additional problems increased consumers’ sensitivity to price, price changes, and additional fees. TARP also found that increased product prices or service fees bothered only 10% of consumers who didn’t experience service issues. However, almost 50% of consumers that had two or more service problems were unhappy about price hikes and were less likely to stick around when they occurred.

Keep in mind; customers are 4 times more likely to stop doing business with a company for a service-related issue over pricing or product concerns. Customer satisfaction is key. This is true for any business, no matter where you are or what kind of products or services you are offering.

If you are looking for assistance when it comes to customer support for your business, BMT Micro may be a solution for you. We have a highly trained customer service department that is quick to respond to customers’ and vendors’ inquiries. They are always available to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. Our customer service team handles all questions related to the payment and ordering process; however, for technical support (for instance how to play a specific game), customers are referred to the developer of the software or product. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer, please contact our vendor services via email at vendors@bmtmicro.com for more information.

Jan 27
Reading Time: 2 minutes

  

Have you ever wondered why certain blog posts outperform others by so much? Typical blog posts generate an influx of traffic soon after publication but start to “decay” as traffic volume gradually declines. However, some blog posts will generate increasing levels of organic traffic over time with no additional marketing effort.

Rather than decaying, compounding blog posts work to help your business attract more visitors long-term. These blog posts contain always-relevant information and grow organically. According to a Hubspot report, compounding blog posts typically represent about 10 percent of all blogs published, but they bring in as much as 38 percent of total blog traffic. One compounding blog post can also produce as much traffic as six decaying posts.

You can’t expect every post you write to be compounding, but there are certain characteristics many of these posts have in common.

  • What, how, why, and best. Studies show that blog titles including these words perform best.
  • Use Broad Tactical Topics. Most compounding posts intend to help readers by providing instructions, product reviews, and breakdowns of processes. Offer practical tips and clear advice that address topics, pain points, and challenges that resonate with your ideal audience.
  • Six to 13 words are the key length for your title. Anything more or less has been proven to not attract readers.
  • Remember SEO. Do keyword research to find actual words and phrases your audience uses that show long-term search volume.
  • Make it easy and enticing to read. Use plain language and follow formatting best practices. Typically, compounding blog posts will have subheadings, images, bullet points, short paragraphs, links to other information, and easily digestible content.

If you have an established blog, you may have already published content that fits the profile of a compounding post. Use your analytics to identify your own posts that have performed well over time, and to audit and monitor current content and traffic levels.

Compounding posts can significantly impact your traffic. Take the time to identify blog posts that continue to deliver relevance and long-term value.

Additional blog posts you may be interested in:

Jan 20
Reading Time: 2 minutes

  

Live-streaming video content has really begun to gain traction. According to Cisco’s June 2016 Visual Networking Index report, streaming video accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic, and this share is expected to jump to 82% by 2020. Furthermore, streaming video content online is becoming the most accessible way to consume entertainment.

As video streaming (for video games, hobbies, and more) grows, so does the popularity of live streaming. As we mentioned before, businesses do not need to put up a significant investment to try live video streaming with the growing availability of inexpensive and free applications. One of the best examples of this is Amazon’s late 2014 acquisition, Twitch.tv.

What is Twitch.tv?
Twitch.tv is “the biggest destination hosting channels for live streaming today. It began as a video game live-streaming platform and was acquired by Amazon in 2014 just under $1 billion. The viewing experience is full of information and features to hold your attention; in most cases, you’ll see a live feed of a game environment, with a smaller window in any given corner showing a view of the gamer at work, sitting at their monitor with headphones on and microphone at the ready” (Marketingland.com)

According to recent numbers released by the company, Twitch has over two million creators collectively streaming just under 460,000 years’ worth of video to an audience of more than 100 million. Twitch’s viewers also spend more than 1.5 hours per day on the network.

Originally, Twitch focused on video gaming, including playthroughs of video games, broadcasts of eSports competitions, creative content, and more recently, music broadcasts. Now, though, the company has expanded its offerings to diversify beyond video game streaming as a way to broaden its appeal to audiences and advertisers. “Twitch IRL” was recently launched and “it’s not just gaming; there are channels dedicated to watching people create artwork, or eat their dinner – a nod to the South Korean trend of ‘social eating’” (Twitch CEO, Emmett Shear).

Advertising & Marketing Opportunities
Typically, Twitch streamers interact with their audience as they are playing, and get paid by the number of viewer subscriptions. But, Twitch recently announced they are adopting a new advertising approach that will “reduce the efficiency” of ad blockers while ensuring a broader reach and more consistent delivery for advertisers.

According to Robin Fontaine, Twitch product marketer, the service’s newly introduced SureStream technology “will allow us to improve the video advertising experience for viewers and partners, improve ad deliverability by reducing the impact of third party services that bypass ads, and increase the advertising revenue pool available for partners.”

Twitch also announced the company will be bringing live video streaming to the Twitch mobile app enabling users to go live directly from their phone. This update can help Twitch grow into a bigger force on mobile and will keep the platform competitive against Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Twitch has already proven itself a leader in live streaming content and broadcasting there could help your business gain a significant following. With 88% of companies looking to invest in live stream video advertising over the next six months, it’s worth taking some time to implement live-stream content into your marketing strategy.