May 27
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Five ways to increase your online conversion rates

Conversion rates can be defined as the percentage of consumers who take a desired action. In the online retail world, this typically means the percentage of customers who purchase something from you. Companies are constantly looking for ways to increase their numbers. Everyone has their own best practices and knows their own business the best, but we hope to give you some insight with our top 5 ways to increase your conversion rate.

1. Ease of Use – If the checkout process seems difficult to your potential customer, they may not complete the transaction. Consumers prefer a simple, quick checkout process. The checkout site needs to be convenient for consumers.  The site needs to clearly define the next steps in the checkout process. Use bright buttons, logical flow, and directions to make the process as easy as possible. Consumers begin to second guess the purchase when they have a roadblock in their way.

2. Credibility – If you are not a trusted vendor, consumers may have some last minute doubt. You want to build trust with your brand. This can be done by being transparent and having great customer reviews. You can also build credibility by having a secure, PCI compliant checkout site.  Some consumers are very weary about putting their credit card information on the Internet.  Partnering with a trusted and well established payment processor, like BMT Micro, can help assure your customers’ security and privacy.

3. Clear and Concise – Information on the site needs to be clear and concise. Detailing a clear returns policy and any guarantees will put the consumers mind at ease. You need to have all of the information they may want, right there in front of them for convenience and peace of mind. Contact information is also necessary. They want to know that there is an easy way to contact you if they have a concern. The idea is to be completely transparent so there are no surprises after the purchase.

4. Value of Visits – Make the consumers visit valuable. They want to feel like they are getting something out of choosing to purchase from you. You can have coupons for bundling items, discounts on future purchases, etc. This will also build brand loyalty. Visitors also often abandon shopping carts to search for coupons. Displaying coupons on the checkout page can deter them from leaving. Lastly, if they do abandon their shopping cart, you can send them a coupon via email to draw them pack in to purchase.

One thing that Amazon is well known for doing to build value in visits is that they recommend other products. They recommend products that the consumer may like based on their history or suggest other items that people have purchased with the product you are looking at. It not only makes your consumer happy, but it tends to help you sell more.

5. Customer Feedback – Right before purchasing a product, many consumers search for product reviews. Having positive customer reviews will be helpful in converting them to a customer. If you do not currently have any reviews, you may want to promote reviews on your social media sites or ask valued customers to write something about you. Another way to get customer feedback is to send out surveys after consumers purchase or abandon their carts. This way you can get insight into what you are doing well and what needs some work. Also, if they give very positive feedback, you could ask them to write a review and send them a coupon.

These are our top 5 tips to increase your conversion rate today! However, you know what works best for your business. Feel free to add to this list if you have used another trick that has been successful in the past. We are always excited to hear new ideas!

May 20

Generation Y

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Over the past few years the retail environment, specifically how a consumer goes about learning about your product and purchasing your product, has changed drastically. There is a new generation out there purchasing products and they have very different traits than the previous generations. We are speaking about Generation Y. It is important for all retailers out there to understand who Generation Y is, how the retail landscape has changed with this generation, and how you sell to them. This is important because there are over 80 million of them and they have an annual spending power of about $1.5 trillion dollars a year. This article will illustrate different ways to adapt to and sell to Generation Y.

The first question is, Who is Gen Y? Generation Y, also known as the echo-boomers, are the offspring of the baby boomers. The years that represent Generation Y are often debatable, but they are typically born between the early 1980’s through the early 2000’s. This Generation is often referred to as the trophy generation because they grew up receiving trophies for merely participating in a sport. Therefore, they may seem to be a bit spoiled and overly confident individuals. They also grew up glued to the television. This makes it more difficult for marketers to reach them through traditional channels because they tune out ads. A few other common traits Generation Y have are that they hate to be sold to, they want transparency, they are indecisive, support non-profits, want to ‘go green’, want everything to be customized to them, prefer texts and email to phone calls, and they are impatient. The list could go on about the traits of Generation Y, but the more important part to discuss is the retail environment today and how to sell to this generation.

There has been a shift in the way consumers do business with retailers. Generation Y is a different type of consumer and the traits that they possess have caused the retail environment to change. Not only do they have a desire to do business and purchase differently, but they also have a strong influence on the other Generations. One retailer that understood this before anyone else is Apple. Apple was one of the first companies to adapt to Generation Y and tailor their products to appeal to them. You can also walk into any store and find 65 year old consumers using iPhones. This means that consumers as a whole have been influenced by the new Generation and their expectations have changed. Consumers today want to be engaged, have transparency, and for it to be convenient when purchasing.

Generation Y

Lastly, we need to focus on how to sell to this Generation because it is said that by 2015, Generation Y will become the most significant spending group. A few ways to sell to Generation Y are explained below:

  • Transparency is very important. This generation grew up with the Internet. They have a lot of knowledge and power, but the more transparent you are, the more they will trust you.
  • Use social media and the web for advertising, communication, and transacting. They live on the web and prefer to communicate through the web, if possible.
  • Set yourself a part by having a unique selling point. The competition is stronger due to the Internet. Consumers these days do not think twice about buying Internationally.
  • Become a trusted partner, don’t just sell to them. They are less loyal than previous Generations. Make them feel like they are special and that they are more than just a sale to you.
  • Make sure your past customers are happy, even better, get them to praise you. Generation Y listens to their peers first, parents second. Online reviews are very important to them.
  • They are impatient, transactions need to be quick and convenient.
  • They LOVE giveaways and try-buys. You may want to throw in an extra item for their purchase or do a give-away of an item to increase engagement.
  • Engagement is key. They want to be engaged in all of their transactions.
  • Have a Vision for the future. They want to know what your plans are for tomorrow.

A lot of companies have started to make changes to adapt to Generation Y. The ones that haven’t, need to consider the size and spending power of these consumers. The future of retail is changing. In order to remain successful companies, it is very important to be educated on the changes and to adjust how we interact with consumers.

May 13
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Pay per click (PPC) is an advertising model used on the Internet to direct traffic to websites. The company that wants to advertise pays the hosted website whenever someone clicks on the advertisement. It involves the searcher, hosted website, and the Advertising company:

  • Searchers – People click on paid ads more often than any other online advertising.
  • Engines – Search Engines are forced to be the middle man and cater to the searchers and the advertising company. The search engines want to provide relevant results, while offering a revenue driving advertising channel.
  • Advertising company – Companies looking to advertise are offered a unique way of putting their message in front of an audience who is actively seeking their product.

When a company wants to advertise through paid search, they typically work with a search engine and bid on keyword phrases that would be commonly used by their target market. Content sites commonly charge a fixed price per click rather than use a bidding system. The major benefit of using a PPC platform is that they provide immediate results. However, it will cost you a bit of money if you want to dominate in the top paid search results. There are about four established and commonly used pay per click platforms. Today, we will discuss some of the most commonly used platforms and their benefits.

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The first and most recognizable being Google AdWords.. Google has the largest search engine and can provide a high volume of traffic. Therefore, your ads are getting seen by the most people. They are also getting seen by people who are in search of your product or service. This means that you will have the highest conversion rate when they click on your Ad. This is a very effective way to Advertise. Another benefit is the analytics and measurement tools that Google provides for you to track your campaign. This will allow you to see which keywords are working and which are not. Google AdWords has a lot of benefits and is very commonly used. The biggest downside to using Google is the expense. If you are trying to make a significant impact on a small budget, Google AdWords may not be the place to start.

The next platform we will discuss in the Yahoo-Bing Network. The Yahoo-Bing Network is another popular search engine that can be used for pay per click. This search engine may not be as popular as Google, but it can still be effective. First off, it is lower priced, so it may be a better option if you are on a tighter budget. Secondly, the competition is a lot less fierce than Google, so you are more likely to be recognized by consumers using this search engine. However, you will not get nearly as much traffic when compared to Google.

Facebook is the largest social network and they allow you to advertise and promote your product or service to all of their users. Facebook, just like Google, will have a high volume of traffic. Facebook knows their users demographics, interest, etc. This helps you to target your customers in order to have a higher conversion rate. The only downside to advertising on Facebook is that the amount of times people click is much lower than on a paid ad through a search engine, such as Google. This is because people are not logging on to Facebook to actively search for products. If you are looking to promote your brand more so than sell a product, Facebook will be a great platform to use.

Advertising.com (Sponsored Listings) is becoming more and more popular lately and it is owned by AOL. Sponsored Listings allows you to choose which websites you would like to advertise on. They have a listing of the websites available and you can choose from there. A lot of the websites on the list have high traffic volume. Therefore, your ads will receive a lot of impressions. A great benefit to Sponsored Listings is that it is completely transparent and you are informed of exactly how your ad will appear, where it will appear, and when. The one downside to Sponsored Listings is that consumers on these web pages may not be searching for your product or service, so it is an impulse click, which results in a lower conversion rate.

If you are looking to start a pay per click campaign in the near future, this will help you in your decision of what works best for you. Feel free to check back in periodically to learn more about different Marketing techniques and strategies.

 

May 2

Market Pressures

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In any market, there are constant pressures that affect the companies and consumers in it. Some pressures such as efficiency and effectiveness are ever-present, but with the progression in technology and consumers expectations, there are new pressures that companies need to understand in order to be successful. Today, we want to focus on pressures that are relevant and impacting the e-commerce world from a business perspective.

The piece of the e-commerce industry that focuses on digital goods, digital e-commerce, first arose around downloadable software but has since grown into virtual goods of all kinds. These companies have begun edging into physical goods such as electronics, growing the e-commerce market exponentially in the past few years. Some pressures in the marketplace right now are elaborated on below.

More Vendors than ever

A large number of e-commerce companies pop up overnight, every night. The competition is fiercer than ever. The competition among e-commerce companies is also getting more intense as consumers become more familiar with online shopping. Consumers increasingly judge retailers based on their experiences on the Internet.

Customer Experience

As consumers become more familiar with the Internet and online purchasing, their expectations begin to change. Consumer Expectations in all retail arenas have been raised. They want instant gratification and an enjoyable experience that is customized to them. Therefore, processes need to change, which is no small matter. Consider the following scenario taken from Brad Rencher, senior vice president and general manager responsible for driving Adobe’s Digital Marketing business:

  • We open up our retail app and take a picture of a product we like and we expect that product to show up on our doorstep the next day.

This scenario is a perfect example to illustrate where consumers expectations are heading. With these increasing expectations, a change needs to occur. Companies need to reinvent how they are marketing and delivering their products.

Privacy/security

Privacy and Security are critical concerns in the current economy. Privacy is the control over one’s data, and security is the access to data by an unauthorized user. Consumers are concerned about their personal information getting into the wrong hands, and e-commerce sites are worried about the financial loss or loss of credibility associated with a breach. Companies need to portray that their sites are completely secure and make sure that their reputation follows. One breach could cause a company to face serious consequences.

ZMOT

The first few seconds we are exposed to a new product are crucial to whether or not we will purchase said item. These critical moments are known as the First Moment of Truth. Google has recently discovered another critical moment for consumer/brand interactions called the Zero Moment of Truth (or ZMOT). This begins on the Internet. The definition of ZMOT given by Google is, “It’s a new decision-making moment that takes place a hundred million times a day on mobile phones, laptops and wired devices of all kinds. It’s a moment where marketing happens, where information happens, and where consumers make choices that affect the success and failure of nearly every brand in the world.”

These behaviors have redefined the way companies plan and design their customer’s online experience. It is a much different approach than previously seen before. Now there’s a more informed customer base to cater to. They check in with their trusted third-party sources, such as online reviews and price comparisons. They also expect your message to be consistent from desktop to tablet to mobile.

Transparency/Social media

About 10 years ago, marketers knew more about their products than their consumers did. However, everything these days is transparent and consumers may know more about your product and competitors than you do. Not only do they know more, but they are more active in expressing their opinions. The accessibility of the Internet gives consumers more channels to express their opinion as well. When they have something to say about a product, they’re not just saying it to the company that sold it to them, they’re talking to each other.

You need to be aware of consumers talking about you on the web, address it appropriately, and continue to engage consumers. Your content also has to be consistent across channels and campaigns.

Personalization

A huge part of succeeding with consumers today is being able to define and understand your target audience, in order to provide them with specific experiences that fit their needs. Personalization helps online marketers connect consumers with the product most suited with their particular need, which can lead to a desired purchase. Those customers can then post their own reviews or recommendations, informing other consumers undergoing their own ZMOT.

Doing more with Less

Businesses are still hiring, just not as much as they might have in the past. One reason is because some companies that downsized during the downturn are finding that they emerged from the recession more efficient and able to do more with less. In hard times, companies pay a lot more attention to efficiency because they cannot throw money at their problem. The companies who are more efficient and able to do more with less are commonly the ones that survive economic struggles.

pressure

There are new pressures that continue to pop up as the retail world changes. The retail world is moving to the Internet more and more everyday. This is a great time to be in the e-commerce arena. Keep in mind the pressures and how consumers expect to be sold to in order to gain an advantage from your competition.