Dec 30

E-commerce Trends For 2017

Posted by BMT Micro

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E-commerce is set to have another record-breaking year in 2017. Approximately 80% of Internet users are shopping online and the average consumer spends at least $1,800 per year on the Internet. According to Internet Retailer online spending in the U.S. alone will generate $355 billion in total for 2016 and is expected to exceed $400 billion per year by 2018.

With 2017 just around the corner, the following are a few of the latest trends in e-commerce to keep in mind when going into the New Year.

Going Global: E-commerce Growth in Asia-Pacific
In the early days of e-commerce the U.S. was the major driver of growth. But, e-commerce has grown to be a global phenomenon and emerging markets are rapidly expanding in the global e-commerce market. According to eMarketer, the Asia-Pacific is expected to remain the world’s largest retail e-commerce market throughout the forecast period, with sales expected to top $1 trillion in 2016 and more than double to $2.725 trillion by 2020. Furthermore, it is estimated that by 2020, Asia’s e-commerce value will be worth more than the U.S., U.K., Japan, Germany, and France combined.

[Click Here for more tips on taking your business global]

Subscription Business Model
As we mentioned before, Recurring Billing has become one of the hottest strategies in digital marketing. Consumer buying habits are now trending more toward simple and hassle-free shopping experiences. Subscriptions make consumers lives easier by providing them with a hassle-free payment method and it ensures they get billed regularly, which increases your revenue. Overall, it’s an excellent business model for both the business and the consumer, and has driven massive growth over the past ten years (and is predicted to continue at a healthy rate as we head towards 2020).

[Click Here to learn more about the Subscription Business Model (also known as Recurring Billing)]

Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is a bit trickier to predict for 2017 because it is still genuinely new. But, with the rise of digital assistants (Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, etc.), it has begun to reach a level where it is useful to many people’s daily lives. For 2017, business should start looking at how AI tech can help with ad targeting and personalization. This tech can greatly help businesses gain a smarter approach to online advertising.

A New Year always brings changes especially in the booming e-commerce space. Keep these trends in mind to help your business stay competitive in 2017. If you are looking for ways to improve your business in 2017, 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 also 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 BMT Micro’s offerings please contact our vendor services at vendors@bmtmicro.com.

Dec 23
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Every year, businesses begin to check out as the holiday shopping season starts to fade out. The weeks and even months after the holidays can be a slow period for many businesses (online and brick-and-mortar) and are commonly known as the dreaded post-holiday slump. Most businesses do usually lose a good chunk of traffic and sales during January. But, the good news is the right strategy can help any business overcome the post-holiday slump.

“New Year, New You”- Help Your Customers Keep Their Resolutions
January 1st the magical date where everyone begins to drastically change his or her mindset. People start off the New Year with the best intentions, and for businesses, this opens a big marketing opportunity. No matter what you sell, only a few things cannot be logically tied into a New Year promotion. The New Year is your opportunity to offer shoppers an easier way to keep their resolutions.

Don’t Go Quiet – Turn Up the Volume
As we mentioned before, most businesses start to check out and relax after the holiday madness. Let your competition relax and do the exact opposite. By the end of the holiday shopping season, your business should have an abundance of new data at your fingertips (email addresses, order histories, abandoned carts, etc.). This is the perfect time make use of this data and spark interest in your business with customized offers.

Smart Pricing with Discounts & Sales
While you may be tired of discounts after the holiday season, your customers aren’t. A sale alone can be powerful enough to get your business over the post-holiday slump. When offering post-holiday discounts, it’s important to carefully analyze your December sales data. This will help you see any complementary products to offer in a New Year sale. Also, analyzing your sales data will help your business avoid triggering any sort post-holiday buyer’s remorse.

The New Year is just beginning so don’t succumb to the post-holiday slump. It is not impossible to boost sales in January if you spark interest and give shoppers something to look forward to after the holidays.

If you are looking for new ways to improve your business in the New Year, BMT Micro can also help. Our system can be used to set up many different discount schemes, offer multiple payment methods, and our highly trained customer service staff is here to assist your customers with the ordering process. We offer Marketing services as well, so please feel free to contact us for more information.

Dec 16
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In 2014, Google announced adding HTTPS as a lightweight ranking signal and launched their HTTPS Everywhere campaign. Google and even Mozilla have pushed HTTPS migration hard since then, yet less than 0.1% of websites are secure. Until recently, HTTPS was really only used by e-commerce sites to secure their payment pages. But, Google considers secured web a priority and now wants their users to know when a website is not secure. Beginning in January 2017, Google (Chrome 56) will mark HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as non-secure, as part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure.

HTTP vs. HTTPS: What’s The Difference?
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It’s a simple protocol for sending and receiving text-based messages over the Internet. The problem is that HTTP data is not encrypted and insecure.

HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. It’s the same protocol as HTTP, but HTTPS encrypts the data sent and received with SSL. HTTPS provides three layers of protection to data:

  • Encryption – Encrypting the exchanged data makes it worthless to anyone who somehow manages to intercept it. According to Google, this means “that while the user is browsing a website, nobody can ‘listen’ to their conversations, track their activities across multiple screens, or steal their information.”
  • Data integrity – Safeguards data that is being transferred so it cannot be modified or corrupted.
  • Authentication – Proves the user is communicating with the intended website and protects against “man in the middle” attacks, which you can learn more about here.

The main benefit of HTTPS is that you are making your website more secure. However, there are limits to this. HTTPS is not going to completely prevent your website from getting hacked, you will just have a less likely chance. Aside from security, HTTPS also improves customer trust. According to GlobalSign, more than 80% of respondents would abandon a purchase if there were no HTTPS in use.

Moving a whole site from HTTP to HTTPS can require a lot of time, planning, and the right resources. But, if your business accepts payments or sensitive data for any reason, you need HTTPS on those pages at a minimum. In addition, if your business is planning to get a significant amount of search traffic in the next few years, you should plan on switching to HTTPS. Ultimately, the switch from HTTP to HTTPS is needed to future-proof your website.

BMT Micro can also save you the time and the expense necessary to keep your customer’s information safe. There is no need to worry about the expense of a secure certificate (SSL or EVSSL Certificate) since all BMT Micro servers are fully secured. We host all shopping carts using the highest encryption standards available. If you would like to learn more about what BMT Micro can offer your business please feel free to contact our vendor services via email at vendors@bmtmicro.com.

Dec 9

Reaching Cross-Device Shoppers

Posted by BMT Micro

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   reaching-cross-device-shoppers-bmt-micro

In our blog, The Rise of Multi-Device Consumers, we discussed how it is becoming vital for businesses to deliver a consistent and seamless experience as shoppers move between devices. In the past, it was enough to focus on the “preferred” device or platform of shoppers. But, that is simply not the case today as 90% of consumers move between multiple devices in the purchase process (Google).

Focusing on one preferred device or platform is not nearly effective as implementing a cross-device strategy for your business. This also helps ensure you deliver the right message no matter when or where a potential customer stumbles across your product or service.

66% of consumers find it frustrating when content is not synchronized across all their devices (Adobe). They also engage with media content across screens for more than 60 hours per week (Nielsen). It isn’t enough to target markets with a one-size-fits-all marketing approach anymore. You need to develop a strategy for identifying tracking and targeting your shoppers at any given point.

To start, there are two main models for identifying a single person across multiple devices:

Deterministic models identify consumers through login events, purchases, or other processes where a user enters data identifying themselves. This method uses a stable identifier, like an email address, to match multiple devices to a single user. Deterministic models are usually more precise, but limited in scale.

Probabilistic models use billions of data points, including IP addresses, browsing patterns and device proximity, to infer that two or more devices are likely to belong to a single person. As the name implies, his method revolves around the probability there’s a match. Probabilistic models are more complex but much more scalable.

Using either one of these models allows you to maximize your chances of reaching and targeting potential shoppers in more places. The average shopper uses three to four devices in their daily life. So, if you’re only marketing to customers on desktop, you’re missing out on ample opportunities on mobile, tablet, and other connected devices.

Being able to capture the entire customer journey and relate it back to a single user helps your business truly understand what is working and what’s not. Today’s consumers don’t make purchase decisions in one instance, or on one device. This is why cross-device technology is becoming one of the most important tools for businesses (especially online). It can help your business tell a cohesive, seamless story to shoppers as they navigate across screens, and better attribute your customer’s final purchase to your marketing efforts. What’s more, this technology will influence how companies market and grow for the next fifty years.

Dec 2
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   avoiding-3-common-and-costly-ppc-mistakes-bmt-micro

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing can be one of the most effective ways to quickly generate leads and grow your business. But, many companies still have a difficult time unlocking the potential of PPC due to generic mistakes. These mistakes prevent companies from generating a great ROI from PPC campaigns, yet are easily fixable.

Running all Broad Match Keywords
Both Google Adwords and Bing Ads have keyword match types ranging from broad match targeting to exact match targeting. Broad match is the default setting when adding a keyword in Google (so it is easy to overlook), but will not drive the most qualified traffic to your site. Your ads will get shown in places that are irrelevant for the content when running all “broad” match keywords. Typically, exact match keywords get the highest conversions, but they have limited search volume.

In some cases, broad match can be good, but use it with caution. It is recommended to stick with exact match and utilize all available bid modifiers (mobile, geographic, etc.). This way your ads will show for the keywords that are going to drive traffic to your site.

Not Utilizing Bid Modifiers
Google and Bing allow their PPC users to modify bids based on things like time of day, location, the day of the week, and the device being used. Performance varies across all users and each campaign is unique so it is important to review this data regularly. By doing this you can make the necessary bid adjustments based on lower and higher performing days. This will also help save money on lower performing days.

Not Checking Search Query Reports
When PPC users bid on keywords, Google and Bing match those keywords to search queries typed by customers. It is important to check your Search Query Reports weekly in order to understand the actual search phrases that triggered your ad. Also, make sure to utilize negative keywords for ones that are not targeted or converting well.

These common PPC mistakes can be prevented with just some small changes. Ultimately, checking your campaign settings and monitoring your data on a regular basis can help save your advertising dollars tremendously.

If you are interested in learning more about some of the different PPC Advertising platforms available, check out our previous blog for more information.