Apr 28
Reading Time: 3 minutes

How effective is your social media strategy? Have you ever assessed whether or not your current social media strategy is working for your business?

Developing a comprehensive social media strategy is a key tool in helping you manage your online reputation effectively. But, after you start implementing your strategy, you must regularly assess your social channels to ensure everything is going as planned. This best way to do this is by performing social media audits on an ongoing basis.

What is a Social Media Audit?
According to Social Media Examiner, “to create a content strategy that engages and motivates your audience, you need to do a comprehensive social media audit.” A social media audit will help you analyze the impact of your social media tactics. It gives your business an overall view of what’s working, what’s not working and what can be improved upon across your social channels.

A social media audit will help your business learn from how you manage (or don’t manage) your online brand and stay on top of your online presence. If your business has never done a social media audit before or you are unsure how to analyze your social efforts, the following checklist will help you get started:

Identify All Social Media Profiles (official and unofficial)
Make a list of all the social media profiles your company has. This list should include all official and unofficial accounts. Search for your brand name on Google and all of the major social networks. Once you have your list, make note and keep track of the following:

  • The social media network/profile
  • URL
  • Profile name and/or description
  • Administrators or people have access to the account
  • Number of followers or fans
  • Date of last activity

Check Branding Consistency
Is your branding consistent across all platforms? Your audience should be able to immediately recognize your brand across all of your social media profiles. If there disconnect between your social profiles, it can be difficult for customers and followers to determine if they’re following the right company.

To properly represent your brand, consistency is crucial. Look through your images, bios, descriptions and URLs to make sure you have consistent messaging.

Find Your Best & Worst Channels
It’s important to make sure your presence on a social network is purposeful. You don’t want to be wasting time on a platform that isn’t producing any results for your business. Review every social media profile you have and focus your efforts where it will be better spent.

Analyze Top Performing Posts & Content
Are you posting the right content on each social network? Your posts should engage and resonate with your followers. Analyze the content you’ve published and shared to identify which posts have had the biggest impact. Also, document the important metrics of each post (Retweets, Repins, and likes) to see which type of content is performing best on each network.

A social media audit will give you a clear understanding of how well your social media strategy has worked so far and what you might need to improve on. It will also ensure you are using the right platforms, engaging with your target audience and monitoring your accounts properly.

If you are a vendor of BMT Micro, an analysis of your social media performance and ways to improve is currently available with our Marketing Analysis. The Marketing Analysis also includes an analysis of your current website and ways to improve, SEO and digital reputation management results, target market and competitor analysis, and ways to improve advertising and branding. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer, please contact our Marketing Specialist via email at leah@bmtmicro.com for more information.

Apr 21
Reading Time: 2 minutes

To reach a global audience, it has become imperative for online businesses to build an effective cross-border e-commerce strategy. But, in order to do this, a business must adapt the shopping and checkout experience to the actual location of their customer (also known as localization).

What is localization?
Localization is the adaptation of a product or service to a specific language and culture. It is not just the translation; it is the comprehensive research and understanding of the culture in order to adapt the product or service to the culture in all aspects. This can include signs, symbols, customs, and other characteristics of the region.

To truly be successful with localization, a business must have an in-depth understanding of how customer preferences vary from place to place.

Speak your customer’s language
Customers prefer to shop in their native language. Research from Rosetta Stone found that 72.4% of consumers are more likely to buy products with information written in their native language. To make your products and services more accessible, analyze which languages your customers are using.

Many different aspects go into intercultural communication, so we do not suggest using online translation engines. They are very inaccurate and will not relay the proper message to your customers. The best option would be to get an internal or local translator. If that is not an option for your business, there are companies you can outsource the work to.

Offer preferred payment methods
Preferred payment methods differ dramatically by country. In a study done by a UK-based Internet marketing firm, 50% of online shoppers said they would abandon their purchase if their preferred payment method were not available at checkout. So, research which payment methods are the most popular to your customers around the world and make sure you offer them.

Display prices in local currency
Just like languages, it is crucial to display prices in your customer’s local currency. To do this, you can display pricing in each respective country’s currency and convert the currency to your own or you can set up an account to accept the country’s currency. You will also need to be able to adjust quickly for varying exchange rates and adhere to international taxes, tariffs, and fees.

If finding the resources to support your localization efforts seems difficult or daunting, BMT Micro can help. Our localization efforts offer customers a complete purchase experience (from start to finish) in their own language. We are consistently working to add languages to our localization repertoire and we understand various cultural frameworks associated with languages from different regions. We can also customize order forms and shopping carts to match your website and suit your localization needs. If you would like to learn more about how we can assist with your cross-border e-commerce strategy and localization, please feel to contact our vendor services at vendors@bmtmicro.com.

Apr 14
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

A return policy can make or break an online business. At least 30% of all products ordered online are returned compared to only 8.89% bought in brick-and-mortar shops (Invesp). But, 92% of shoppers say they would buy something again if they were happy with the return policy.

With 67% of shoppers normally checking the return policy before making a purchase, your business cannot neglect this. A good return policy can turn around a poor customer experience and encourage repeat customers. It can differentiate your business from your competition and even reduce the time spent on processing returns.

What is a return policy?
Return policies are the rules business owners establish to manage the process by which customers return or exchange unwanted or defective merchandise that they have purchased previously (USLegal). In other words, a return policy (synonymous with refund policy) is a set of guidelines that business owners follow when dealing with returns and refunds for their products.

For example, here is BMT Micro’s Refund Policy:
The majority of the software we sell is distributed on a try-before-you-buy basis, which eliminates virtually all situations where a refund is requested due to the fact that the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate a product is made before the product is purchased. We strongly encourage you to try the software you are purchasing before you buy it. If you purchase a product you have tried and still have discovered problems, please contact the developer or technical support first. In most cases, a solution is available and our experience shows that software developers are eager to help you solve any problems you might have. In the unlikely event you purchase a product you have tried prior to purchasing, and have been in contact with the developer of the software to attempt a resolution, we do offer a 30 day refund policy. The 30 day period begins from the date of the purchase and runs 30 consecutive days, including weekends and holidays.

We offer the same refund policy on software that is not available on a try-before-you-buy basis, however we still ask that you contact the software developer with any issues prior to requesting a refund.

So to recap: After purchasing, if you have any problems you should always first attempt to resolve them with the developer. If within 30 days of purchase you are not able to solve any post-sale issues, contact us and we will gladly assist you.

Having a clear, concise policy is important because it can:

  • Improve customer service and experience
  • Attract and retain customers
  • Set customer expectations
  • Win customer’s trust

[Source: http://www.smallrevolution.com/store-content-pages/refund-policy/]

When it comes to making your own return policy or even just updating your existing one, there are a few best practices to abide by.

Make It Easy To Find
Your return policy should be easy to find on your site. You should never try to hide it or send your customers on a scavenger hunt for the information they seek. 95% of shoppers that make returns will come back if they feel you made the process easy for them.

Time Frame Limitations
It’s important to inform customers how long they have to return a product or request a refund. Generally, 15-30 days is standard but just make sure to put it in writing.

State Special Circumstances And Any Return Costs
If your business runs sales or promotions, it is best to explicitly state if these fall under a separate return policy. Also, if it is up to the customer to pay for return shipping, you need to make that very clear.

Exchange, Credit, Cash?
Your return policy should state whether a customer could exchange the item, get store credit, or a refund of their money. Determine what works best for your business and make that clear in your policy.

Keep in mind; a return policy is not one-size fits all. You need to personalize it to your specific business and target audience. Think of your return policy as an extension of your business and an opportunity to build your brand.

Apr 7
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

With more than $3.5 billion lost to online fraud each year, fraudulent online credit card activity is a growing concern for businesses. Fraudulent transactions are at an all-time high and some reports even indicate online retail fraud in the US alone to rise by 106 percent over the next three years.

If your business accepts a fraudulent payment, you could end up being held financially responsible for the loss. To protect your business from this, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the common characteristics of fraudulent orders:

  • Orders that are unusually larger than normal and/or high-priced orders
  • Orders with expedited shipping on large quantities or high-priced orders
  • Orders that have a shipping address that is different than the billing address
  • Order requests to change an address after an order is placed
  • IP addresses that are not in the same area as the billing information entered on the order
  • Suspicious and/or fake email addresses
  • Inconsistent and/or suspicious address information (e.g. P.O. Boxes, zip code doesn’t match state or city listed)

Knowing what to look out for can help protect your business and prevent hard-earned revenue losses. Equipping your business with the right tools and processes can also reduce your chances of incurring fraud.

Limit Number of Failed/Declined Transactions
It is in your best interest to create a limit on attempted and/or declined transactions. Based on your order and revenue trends, you may also want to consider setting a limit on the number of purchases and/or total dollar amount you’ll accept from one cardholder in a single day. Be wary of large quantity orders, especially ones for expensive goods. This may not point directly to a stolen credit card or fraud, but it is still a good idea to investigate questionable orders. Simply contact the customer to verify the order and the legitimacy of the purchase.

Use Verification Technology
Whenever you come across questionable or suspicious orders it is important to validate the order information. It is best practice to use an AVS (address verification system) and requiring the CVV (card verification value) to ensure the cardholder placing the order is in physical possession of a valid card.

An AVS (address verification system) checks the manually entered billing address with the billing address currently on file with the credit card company. If there are discrepancies, the transaction is flagged so you can investigate. In addition to address verification, requiring the Card Verification Value (CVV) for all transactions validates that the cardholder placing the online order is legitimate. The card security code is the 3 or 4-digit number printed on the back of a credit or debit card which provides a cryptographic check of the information embossed on the card.

Unfortunately, it is becoming essential for companies to take fraud seriously. But, having the right level of fraud protection will greatly decrease the likelihood that your product or service will be taken advantage of or fraudulently used.

Using a full-service e-commerce platform like BMT Micro will save you the time and the expense necessary to keep fraud to a minimum and your customer’s information safe. Our main goal is to ensure the safety of all transactions between vendors and customers. Our advanced, proprietary fraud detection system is state of the art and effective in preventing almost all fraudulent order attempts. If you have questions or concerns about your current fraud prevention or if you are interested in learning more about BMT Micro’s offerings please contact our vendor services at vendors@bmtmicro.com.