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ecommerce - paymnent - methods

7 Payment Methods for Your E-Commerce Store

As you are no doubt well aware, choosing the right method for your online store is a critical step for achieving profitability among the available e-commerce payment methods. Not only do different payment carriers charge differing rates, but the underlying mechanisms they use to make payments will profoundly influence the way you do business and interact with customers.

Main Categories for E-Commerce Payment Methods

Online payments options generally fall into one of six meta-categories:

  • Credit/Debit/Prepaid card payments: Cards represent the most popular worldwide payment method in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Korea, and most of Western Europe.
  • Bank transfers: Some e-commerce websites prefer to instruct their customers to make bank transfers directly their accounts, often using an IBAN number.
  • E-Wallets: E-wallets require customers and merchants to sign up and create accounts, then deposit and withdraw money from linked bank accounts. E-wallets like Paypal and AliPay are very popular in the United States and China, respectively.
  • Cash: In India, Romania, Russia, and many other parts of the world, cash remains king – even for e-commerce. Not offering a cash-on-delivery service is a surefire way to miss out on these markets.
  • Cryptocurrencies: Cryptocurrencies are rapidly gaining interest as a payment method for online transactions, particularly among young, moneyed professionals with IT expertise.
  • Direct carrier payments: For some products and services, the ability to bill customers directly through their existing telephone or utility carrier is the most efficient way to effectuate payment.

Each of the options listed below uses one or more of these six e-commerce payment methods to effectuate payments. Your e-commerce store can (and should) offer more than one option in order to attract the greatest number of customers, but you will find that cultural and industry norms tend to dictate what platform most of your customers prefer to use.

1. Due

Due - ecommerce payment
Due

Online credit card processing is one of the most popular ways e-commerce merchants get paid. While your bank is ultimately responsible for processing each transaction, the deal you sign will be with a payment gateway provider, like Due.

While very common, there are downsides to online credit card processing schemes. For instance, rates tend to be high. This is crucial for start-ups who cannot reasonably rely on a significant minimum monthly transaction volume. Due is among the lowest-priced payment gateway operator on the market thanks to its flat-rate fee structure – banks will typically add monthly processing fees and transaction fees together.

2. Paymill

Paymill makes sure that your site can securely process debit cards, credit cards, and pre-paid cards. Paymill is based in Europe, but serves e-commerce transaction needs worldwide. It charges no monthly fees and no set-up fees, making it an attractive choice for new e-commerce store owners looking for a flexible, scalable payment processor.

Debit card processors like Paymill should be easy to integrate – often with little more than a few lines of code integrated into your website. Always look for hidden fees, often called interchange downgrades or rate fluctuations in processor Terms and Conditions contracts.

3. Adyen

Adyen - ecommerce payment
Adyen

Most prepaid card processors also cover debit and credit card payments, like Adyen does. This payment processing platform connects directly with the leading providers of prepaid cards, such as Visa and Mastercard. The company also offers integration with 28 other payment service providers. Since prepaid cards are directly linked to cash accounts, transactions generally occur quickly. Processors like Adyen offer reduced fees for these transactions.

Adyen charges reasonable processing fees for credit, debit, and prepaid cards. The company’s minimum invoice of $120 per month means e-commerce stores will have to guarantee at least that much activity on a monthly basis.

4. Paypal

Paypal is one of the most popular payment processors on the Internet. What distinguishes Paypal from other payment processors is the fact that both customers and merchants withdraw and deposit from Paypal accounts separately from their individual bank accounts. This classifies PayPal as a managed bank transfer service. It establishes a level of trust between you and your customers. It also reserves the right to settle disputes on your behalf.

PayPal charges transaction fees both into and out of your account. This  can make it an expensive choice for e-commerce store owners dealing in large volume, low-value items.

5. Cash on Delivery with FedEx

Fedex - ecommerce payment methods
Fedex

In the United States, Cash on Delivery (C.O.D) is rarely used as a payment processing service for e-commerce stores. However, C.O.D remains the most common form of payment in Eastern Europe and the Indian subcontinent, as well as in many other places around the world. If your e-commerce store serves customers who expect to be able to pay in cash, you need to use a courier service that can accept cash and reliably issue you a check for the price of the goods you ship. FedEx is preferable because it accepts cash whereas other courier companies only accept checks and money orders.

6. BitCoin

Bitcoin is the newest and most exciting financial instrument making headlines today. Cryptocurrencies are not yet in wide use, but offer a range of advantages to e-commerce businesses. Bitcoin’s current popularity largely stems from the ability to make secure, anonymous payments to and from individuals in an untraceable manner. This has made it the first choice payment method for everything from questionably ethical services to downright illegal enterprises.

Implementing Bitcoin on your e-commerce website doesn’t automatically brand you as a hacker or arms dealer, though. Bitcoin can attract a highly educated, computer-savvy customer base from all across the world. This makes it a great option for any e-commerce business in the tech sector. Use a platform like BitPay to integrate Bitcoin payments with relative ease.

7. mBill

mBill - ecommerce payment methods
mBill

mBill is a mobile payments service provider that offers direct carrier payment processing services, among other payment methods. Direct carrier payments make it very easy for customers to pay for goods and services online. Their purchases simply show up on the next month’s phone bill. It is compatible with nearly every mobile phone carrier operating in the United States and in 80 countries worldwide.

ecommerce-productivity-tools

The 10 Best SaaS Tools for E-Commerce Companies

E-commerce businesses often start as one-man shows. As the founder of an e-commerce startup, you need productivity tools and platforms that will complement your entrepreneurial spirit. By maximizing productivity using powerful Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools, you can make the most efficient use of your time, especially in the beginning.

As time goes on, you will want to delegate some of these tasks to employees. If you already have access to the right tools for the job, you will be in an ideal position to hire specialists who can improve the results you earn using any of the following software packages.

Our Top SaaS Picks for E-Commerce Businesses

1. Shipstation

Shipstation
Shipstation

Shipstation is a must-have for e-commerce. This software automates one of your most critical and time-consuming processes – shipping. It supports next day delivery, international orders, and more. Sign up for a 30-day trial and try it for yourself. Shipstation will be your trusted ally until your company expands to the point where you can rent out your own warehouse and hire shipping staff.

Shipstation will be the interface between your website administrator, yourself, and your shipping department. It runs between $9 per month and $145 per month, depending on your average number of monthly shipments.

Shipstation has a five-star score on Finances Online, with reports about it being an important part of several customer successes. One of these includes e-commerce store owner Lorenzo, who used it to replace time-consuming manual data entry in his warehouse.

Shipstation-review
Shipstation-review

2. Oberlo

Oberlo
Oberlo

Oberlo is a great asset for e-commerce store owners looking to supplement their catalogs. The drop shipping supplier connects e-commerce brands to manufacturers in an intuitive, easy-to-integrate way. All you need to do is browse through their selection of products and decide which ones work best with your audience niche.

Oberlo is a high-level app designed for product buyers’ use. It comes in three packages – a free Starter package, a Basic package that costs $29.90 per month, and a Pro package that costs $79.90 per month.

Oberlo has a 9.5 rating out of 10 on Trustpilot.com, where customers commend the application’s straightforward customer service.

Oberlo-Review
Oberlo-Review

3. Segmentify

Segmentify
Segmentify | Personalization Platform

Segmentify boosts sales by personalizing the customer experience. That means that individual customers see promotional material uniquely suited to their needs. The award-winning software increases conversions while decreasing bounce rates simply by showing what similar customers have chosen to purchase in the past. Segmentify Recommendation Widgets on average account for 10% of sales on websites once implemented.

Segmentify offers a 14-day free trial and issues fees based on its contribution to total online sales – typically between 3% and 5%. The company’s fee calculator can help you find out precisely how much it will cost.

G2Crowd gives Segmentify five out of five stars. One customer notes that Segmentify’s algorithm displays more relevant products to the current site visitor, which increases conversions.

Segmentify-Review
Segmentify-Review

4. Prisync

Prisync
Prisync

Prisync is an all-in-one solution for competitor tracking. It keeps track of your competitors so you don’t have to, saving time and money in the process.

Specifically, Prisync sends you daily emails showing exactly what your closest competitors are offering – and at what prices. You can set the program to fetch data up to four times per day. It costs $49 per month for the basic package and up to $209 per month with additional options.

Capterra gives Prisync a perfect five-star rating, drawing from 31 reviews. One customer uses it to increase profit margins while operating off of simple Excel reports.

Prisync - Review
Prisync – Review

5. Canva

Canva
Canva

Canva offers professional image editing software to people who aren’t Photoshop experts. The software’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface distinguishes it from more complicated image editing options on the market. Robust image editing power with an easy-to-use interface make it a valuable tool for any e-commerce entrepreneur.

While Canva is uniquely suited to early-stage entrepreneurs, it is also a useful tool for the professional designer – and unlike competing applications like Photoshop, it’s free.

G2Crowd gives Canva 4.7 out of 5 stars, citing the simplicity of using the software. One customer notes that it offers powerful features for making social media posts.

Canva-Review
Canva-Review

6. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo

A critical element of the e-commerce entrepreneur’s technology stack, BuzzSumo makes content marketing simple. You need good content to distinguish your brand from the crowd, but ideas for new content are always tough to come by.

BuzzSumo solves this problem by analyzing competitors and giving you access to data on what works, what doesn’t, and what you should try out.

BuzzSumo is a must-have tool for your content marketer or copywriter. The company charges between $99 and $559 per month depending on the size of your team and the number of data exports you plan on ordering.

BuzzSumo has earned 4.5 stars out of five on G2Crowd.com. It helped Stefania build a better Facebook campaign:

BuzzSumo - Review
BuzzSumo – Review

7. AuthentiPix

AuthentiPix
AuthentiPix

AuthentiPix has a simple and powerful value statement. The Shopify app links with your biggest fans’ Instagram photos and prominently displays them on your website. This attractive display of user-submitted photographs acts as free, endlessly dynamic marketing material.

This SaaS tool works best with visual brands – fashion retailers and lifestyle brands, for instance. It costs $10 per month, with a free trial available.

AuthentiPix has a perfect five-star score on Shopify’s App Store. Among its top-rated reviews is the one shown below, which points out how helpful AuthentiPix’s customer service is.

AuthentiPix - review
AuthentiPix – Review

8. Thankbot

Thankbot
Thankbot

Thankbot does something very unique for e-commerce businesses. It sends handwritten notes to each of your customers after they order products. The notes cost between $5 and $4.40 each, and leave an unmistakable impression on your customers, ensuring long-lasting fidelity and return purchases.

The company offers both masculine and feminine handwriting styles, along with a wide range of stationery formats. Combine ThankBot with AuthentiPix to create a simple, passive marketing strategy that works.

9. Sellbrite

Sellbrite
Sellbrite

Sellbrite is an automated e-commerce listing, syncing, and shipping tool that offers special services for multi-channel shops. Any e-commerce store owner selling on more than one platform at a time needs to use a tool like Sellbrite to manage their stock and deliver a unified customer experience across all brand touchpoints.

This is a tool for your store administrator to use daily. It costs between $220 and $1,500 per month based on average monthly sales volume. The company also offers special deals for high-volume companies selling more than 40,000 products per month.

Sellbrite has a four-out-of-five rating on WebRetailer.com, which also offers useful customer success stories like this one:

Sellbrite - Review
Sellbrite – Review

10. PriceWaiter

Pricewaiter
Pricewaiter

PriceWaiter is conversion tool that focuses on comparison shoppers – the ones constantly verifying your products alongside competing offers to make sure they’re getting the lowest price. What makes PriceWaiter special is that is allows for price matching, volume discounts, and name-your-price functionality.

In many cases, name-your-price functionality allows e-commerce store owners to bypass minimum sales prices set by manufacturers – but you’ll want to verify your agreement to be sure. PriceWaiter offers a free trial and costs between $49 and $1,499 per month plus a 2-3% fee per-transaction.

PriceWaiter has a perfect five-star rating on Shopify’s App Store and has been featured in Forbes.

PriceWaiter - Review
PriceWaiter – Review

 

Top 6 U.S.-Based Ecommerce Marketing Agencies

Top 6 U.S.-Based Ecommerce Marketing Agencies

For most online retailers, finding the right ecommerce marketing agency is the make-it-or-break-it step between struggle and success. By forming relationships with marketers whose strengths complement their own, ecommerce store owners are better-positioned to thrive in a challenging marketplace.

In order to maximize the power of your brand, you need to rely on the services of a digital agency that gets your brand and is powerful enough to broadcast it to your audience successfully.

However, there is no one single “best” marketing agency. Finding the right one for you means determining how complementary the agency’s capabilities are with your particular store. Your store’s size, ecommerce platform choice, and specific specialization will determine what works best for you.

Use this list as a point of reference for finding the ecommerce marketing agency best suited to meeting your needs.

1. Stryde

ecommerce marketing agency
Stryde – Digital Marketing Agency

Stryde is a customer-oriented digital marketing agency that combines a data-driven approach with some pretty powerful customization services. They offer their clients one of the highest average first-year growth rates on this list – most of Stryde’s customers grow more than 40% within one year of partnering with them.

The company achieves this by maximizing the leverage it gets out of great content. By combining social media, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), and email channels, Stryde is able to produce significant results for a wide range of industries.

“There is no question that they are good at what they do,” says Jennifer Anderson, co-founder of Lime Ricki Swimwear, based in Utah. “They’ve increased our AdWords CTR (click-through rate) by over 23 times and quadrupled our conversion rate.”

Contact Stryde at (888) 333-1218.

2. Blue Fountain Media

Digital Agency
Blue Fountain Media – Digital Agency

Recognized as a top digital agency worldwide, New York’s Blue Fountain Media has made a name for itself growing the online presence of major enterprises like Toys R’ Us, Canon, and even NASA.

Blue Fountain uses a combination of traditional marketing strategy, paid media, marketing automation, and conversion rate optimization to produce results for a broad variety of industries.

This company is a great fit for large enterprises that not only wish to maximize their ROI but have a big enough budget to truly produce value.

“Blue Fountain Media’s strategy and one-on-one project management get high marks from the client, whose new social media campaign has garnered great results so far,” explains Mike Meditz, Manager of Kaiser Willys Auto Parts, LLC, in Aiken, South Carolina.

Contact Blue Fountain Media by calling (212) 260-1978.

3. Ruckus Marketing

Full-Service Agency
Ruckus – Full-Service Agency

Ruckus is another New York-based ecommerce marketing agency that focuses on providing enterprise-level clients with measurable growth. Whether helping new or established brands break into the market, the marketing agency is well-equipped to produce results.

A handful of major media outlets rely on Ruckus for their marketing needs. These include household names such as CNN, CBS, and the Wall Street Journal. The marketer also counts Harley Davidson among its clients.

“The Ruckus team blends business acumen with creativity to achieve a very deep understanding of a wide range of marketing activities,” says Dave Kahng, co-founder of Davek Accessories in New York, New York.

Contact Ruckus on their website or by calling (646) 832-4603.

4. WebpageFX

Full-Service Marketing Agency
WebpageFX- Full-Service Marketing Agency

WebpageFX is a full-service digital agency that specializes in producing results for mid-sized businesses. In particular, the company is well-versed in SEO and website conversion. By carefully measuring your capacity to generate leads, the WebpageFX can come up with creative ways to boost conversions and drive sales.

This particular agency has a great deal of experience working with Magento. This makes them valuable for mid-sized businesses looking to make use of Magento’s powerful options for customization, and for growing small businesses who are running into obstacles with their current ecommerce platform.

“The design team did a great job capturing the tone, look and feel we were trying to communicate,” says Craig Reiser, Senior Marketing Manager of Fortis, in Lake Forest, California. “Pleasure to work with the team.”

Get in touch with WebpageFX by calling (888) 601-5359.

5. Netmark

Internet Marketing Agency
Netmark.com – Internet Marketing Agency

Netmark sets itself apart from other digital marketing agencies through its focus on value creation and agile marketing strategy. By putting priority on agility, this company is able to generate and implement marketing strategies that can be rapidly adjusted to meet the needs of quickly evolving markets.

This approach makes Netmark an ideal marketing agency for small businesses who need to capitalize on agility to test their approaches. Far from trial-and-error, this approach lets you identify the key elements of your store’s value proposition and maximize your return from those elements to promote growth.

“Netmark has definitely helped us grow, and we see our presence now on the Internet, not just with pay-per-clicks, but also on natural listing,” comments Dan Albert, a manager of Forever Bamboo in San Diego, California.

Reach out to Netmark by calling (800) 935-5133

6. Hudson Integrated

Digital Agency
Hudson – Digital Agency

Hudson Integrated calls itself a user-first digital web agency. The company offers analytics, optimization, and email marketing plans, and launches social media campaigns on its clients’ behalf. Focusing on full-services solutions, the company is significantly skewed towards mid-sized businesses, but it does have a firm place in the small business market, which makes up about a third of its total market share.

This New Jersey-based digital marketing agency has a great deal of experience working with brick-and-mortar stores opening up online ecommerce portals. They’ve worked with a large number of East Coast fashion retailers in this capacity.

“Hudson is great at project management. They’ve hit every deadline. They’re very responsive,” says Steven DiOrio, Marketing Director of Handy Store Fixtures in Newark, New Jersey.

Get a quote on your marketing campaign by calling Hudson Integrated at (201) 845-8700.

website-design

What Successful E-Commerce Shops Can Teach You About Website Design

Many e-commerce shop owners find handling the finer points of website design to be a considerable obstacle. Your user interface can make or break your e-commerce site’s success, so there’s a good reason why online store owners spend so much attention on the subject.

Most newcomers to the e-commerce industry have a pretty solid idea of what they’re looking for in terms of design. For the most part, they take one of two paths towards realizing those designs during the development process.

Hiring a Designer. This is a great option for any store owner with sufficient resources to invest. Hiring a professional is the best way to ensure you get a modern, well-designed user interface that looks great and loads quickly. Finding the right designer can be a challenge, however – be prepared to spend some time “auditioning” potential ones.

Use Readymade Templates. Many on-the-go e-commerce entrepreneurs choose to use the readymade templates most e-commerce platforms make available. You won’t be able to use powerful customization features without learning how to design, but you can always hire specialists to develop your site later on.

Both are viable options for designing your e-commerce store. Your intended audience and site-specific needs will determine which is best. Below, we’ve gathered some examples of particularly well-designed websites, and some comments on just what makes them so effective.

1. Linksoul

Website-Screenshot-Linksoul
Linksoul

Linksoul is a Georgia-based retailer that primarily sells golfing supplies and accessories. One of its homepage’s biggest attractions is the selection of large photographs that link to different parts of the site. By making the Shop New Arrivals button the centerpiece of their homepage, the company entices visitors to go click and begin shopping. Below this, visitors can link to the company’s Instagram feed, video content, or blog (creatively entitled “Journal”).

The site’s design could be improved by reducing the amount of navigation text on its upper header – the Info, Looks, and Journal tabs are redundant in most cases since users can access these pages easily throughout most of the site. A useful design addition would be adding an Add to Cart button next to each product so that users don’t have to click through to each one in order to make a shopping list.

2. Child of Wild

Website-Screenshot-ChildofWild
ChildofWild

Child of Wild is a California-based jewelry retailer with a spectacular design concept. By focusing on attitude-driven product photography and minimizing text, the website draws users immediately into its world of bone jewelry, dream catchers and bohemian accessories.

This website has great product pages. They are clean, product-centric, and easy to access. The site’s top navigation bar makes it easy to move laterally from product to product or to separate collections, brands, and more.

Repeat visitors to the site will notice that the newsletter pop-up only occurs once. This is important because although newsletter pop-ups help stores build their email list, users rarely enjoy being bothered by them – once is enough.

 3. BlackVue

Website-Screenshot-BlackVue
BlackVue

BlackVue manufactures and sells dashcam products. Since the company needs to cater to both retail and wholesale users, the homepage shows no prices. In order to purchase a single product directly from the site, users must click through the product description page onto a separate retail product page – this lets the company avoid competing with its own distributors.

The only significant drawback to this website’s design is that the homepage’s Blog and About sections are very text-heavy. Large, click-friendly images would do a better job at enticing users to read about the company’s products and history.

Boston-based agency JD Softtech is responsible for this website. For a deeper look at how BlackVue’s designers created the website, read their in-depth case study.

4. Grado Labs

Website-Screenshot-GradoLabs
GradoLabs

Luxury headphone manufacturer Grado Labs understands the power of imagery. Grado knows that the vast majority of their website visitors are already late in the sales funnel – the company’s stellar reputation ensures that users are already somewhat familiar with the brand – so they focus on using powerful imagery to draw customers towards their product selection without relying too much on text.

The only drawback to this company’s website design is that it tends to load slowly. As Yoast points out, loading time is very important for SEO and for mobile sales – you will lose customers if you fill your pages with too many high-resolution photographs. Grado’s luxury appeal means that it doesn’t have to rely on SEO the same way a mainstream audio electronics company would, however.

5. Badland Saint

Website-Screenshot- BadlandSaint
BadlandSaint

Badland Saint has a clean, product-centric website that is light on text and big on imagery. By eliminating most of the extra design elements crowding other jewelry and accessory webpages, it is able to place focus completely on the products it sells.

While company’s home page earns points for its huge banner, it loses its effectiveness on mobile devices since the banner images get smaller while the product images stay the same size. Ideally, the mobile version of the website would perform better if it responded differently – particularly when it comes to the menu and empty cart logo both located just above the main banner. This draws attention away from the banner and away from the products.

6. 22 Bicycles

Website-Screenshot- 22Bicycles
22Bicycles

Selling a bicycle online is hard work – most customers want to test-ride the product before paying for it. 22 Bicycles uses design to overcome that obstacle to great effect. In particular, the sliding two-layered text and imagery background on the homepage creates a powerfully attractive presentation. The site then goes on to explain the various components that make 22 Bicycles special.

Although the site is text-heavy, the size and beauty of its imagery draws customers into learning more about its products. With this site, the only design flaw is that it has a tendency to set colored text against similarly colored backgrounds – distracting at best, confusing at worst. Text boxes would make the brand’s messaging more visible.

finding an ecommerce agency

Finding an E-Commerce Marketing Agency –
What to Look For

It’s common knowledge that e-commerce success depends on a successful digital marketing plan. With more than 100,000 new websites registered every single day, finding your niche is more important than it has ever been.

The sheer rate of the Internet’s growth makes standing apart from your competition harder than ever before. No matter how useful, accessible, or necessary your product or service is, you can be sure that someone out there is already doing it.

Even if the product or service your e-commerce store offers is somehow so unique and innovative that you have no competitors, you ­still need to find the right digital marketing agency to get the word out there to potential customers. They’ll never find out about it otherwise.

The Best E-Commerce Marketing Agencies Specialize

Most e-commerce store owners already know that the key to surviving in this environment is specialization. As Shopify points out, specializing on a niche hedges your bets against competitors who may be focusing on a different audience – even if you’re selling similar products or services.

This trend towards specialization has been a long time coming, and is now in full bloom. The most successful digital marketing agencies have followed suit by specializing in certain e-commerce niche categories. By identifying the specialized service you need most, you can find a marketer who can make your brand thrive.

1. Creative Agencies

Creative digital marketers make up a broad category of agencies. Any marketer whose primary value lies in the ability to develop branding and design deliverables for your website is likely to fall into this category. Creative agencies excel at focusing on identifiable target demographics by creating company specific imagery, content, and infographics that appeal to those people.

You may wish to work with a creative agency like Greynab if you’re starting out and wish to fast-track the process of identifying and marketing to a specific type of consumer.

2. Technical Agencies

Think of technical agencies as the opposite of creative ones. Instead of relying on flash and pizzazz, these companies use powerful data analysis and cutting-edge technology to generate leads and optimize your customer acquisition process. These agencies may specialize in a particular e-commerce platform – often Magento – and will offer wide-ranging customization options for your campaigns.

Some firms offer a different take on the technical side of e-commerce marketing agency service. Publicity.ai, for instance, uses artificial intelligence and predictive modeling to generate leads. Since these companies thrive on data, they are best-suited to established e-commerce stores looking to optimize their online presence.

3. Reputation Managers

Is your e-commerce store suffering from poor reviews? Has a particularly popular blogger has taken to slandering your name? If negative content is creating problems faster than you can solve them, you might need to hire a digital agency specialized in reputation management.

These agencies specialize in reversing negative public opinion. Often, they’ll start campaigns by drowning out negative reviews with new content and then begin a steady climb upwards for your brand, relying on high-profile partnerships and traditional rebranding techniques to reconnect you with your audience.

One such firm is Know, Like and Ignite. It uses content designed for word-of-mouth value to overcome bad press and reputation blunders. Everybody makes mistakes – you shouldn’t have to pay for them forever.

4. Customer Relationship Managers

Some e-commerce marketing agencies focus on the customer relationship. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a whole field unto itself when it comes to digital marketing. E-commerce stores in sectors with high rates of customer return, such as fashion and lifestyle brands, are well-suited to this digital marketing strategy.

Many of these agencies will focus on a particular CRM platform, like industry-leader Salesforce. Primitive Logic is one such agency, who tailors bespoke customer relationship management techniques into broad digital marketing strategies.

5. Organic Traffic Generators

Organic visibility is a marketing term – but not one for the produce isle at your local supermarket. It refers to full search engine optimization of your website, helping you rank higher on search engine results pages and build your customer base.

This strategy is organic because you are not paying for clicks – it is not an advertising campaign. E-commerce marketing agencies like Kubix that specialize in generating traffic organically can produce great results for businesses in high-demand fields. If there is enough search volume for the products or services you offer, the right digital marketing agency might be the one that offers the best SEO results.

Know Your Goals, Know Your Customers

At this point, it should be clear that the key to lasting e-commerce success is using digital marketing to play to your strengths. If you offer a service that potential customers use search engines to find, you should prioritize SEO. If your store offers innovative tech products that people don’t know they want until they see them, then a creative marketing strategy may be best suited for you.

In each case, achieving real success requires you understand two important things – your goals and your customers.

Clearly defining your goals will let you avoid some of the biggest mistakes e-commerce store owners make. It will also help you choose the e-commerce platform best-suited to your needs . Do you prioritize growth over profit? How important is branding to you?

Knowing your customers will help you identify the best strategy for marketing to them. This is the difference between brands that excel, and those that find themselves caught in a constant struggle to stay afloat.

comparison of e-commerce platforms

The Comprehensive E-Commerce Platform Comparison: 2017 Edition

As any experienced e-retailer knows, choosing the right e-commerce solution can mean the difference between lasting success and outright failure. Of the five biggest e-commerce platforms today, no single one offers a one-size-fits-all solution – what works smoothly for one retailer may be impossibly challenging for another.

This year’s comparison keeps this mind while showcasing the strengths and weaknesses of each so that you can make the right choice when setting up your e-commerce shop. The five best e-commerce platforms at the moment are:

  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • Woocommerce
  • BigCommerce
  • Prestashop

Each one is a leader in its particular field. We dive into exactly what each one does best below.

Shopify: User-Friendly, Great Customer Support

Shopify is one of the biggest names in e-commerce. As a hosted solution, Shopify takes care of the coding and implementation of your e-commerce shop – making it an incredibly user friendly option for non-tech types.

At the same time, it is a very flexible platform that allows users (or the developers they hire) to use HTML and CSS to code their sites if they so desire. This gives it an ideal balance between serving newcomers to the world of e-commerce while being sufficiently advanced to handle the needs of industry veterans.

Overall, it’s a winning strategy – Shopify serves more than 300,000 online businesses worldwide and continues to grow at an impressive rate. Its excellent SEO features and industry-leading customer support earned it a 98/100 score with ecommerce-platforms.com.

The primary drawback to Shopify is that it is not necessarily cost-effective for some retailers. Newcomers get a 14-day free trial and then pay between $29 and $299 per month to use the platform. Additionally, Shopify charges a small percentage fee (between 0.5% and 2%) for using external payment gateways like PayPal, which can bite into the profits of e-commerce retailers with low margins and high turnover.

Shopify is compatible with Segmentify, which lets you make personalized product recommendations to users right off the bat. GoWebBaby offers Shopify implementation expertise at low rates.

Magento: Powerful Customization and SEO Benefits

This open-source e-commerce solution is the most flexible of the major names appearing on this list. Magento is ideal for tech-savvy e-commerce retailers who wish to create online store capabilities difficult or impossible to produce with other platforms.

Because Magento is designed for customization, it is not nearly as user-friendly as most other e-commerce platforms. Even seasoned programmers need some time to get used to the Magento interface – but once they do, there is literally no boundary to the creative possibilities it offers.

Magento’s design offers the absolute best SEO capabilities among e-commerce stores, but it is up to you (or a professional developer) to configure your site to make use of those capabilities.

Small businesses that wish to use Magento may do so for free using Magento CE (Community Edition). This is a barebones version of the platform which you’ll need to add paid plug-ins to in order to use. Enterprise-level Magento solutions can run anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000, making this a serious investment.

For implementation, contact JD Softtech, a Boston-based web design agency that offers extraordinary value for e-commerce solutions large and small. Ask about integrating Segmentify, which lets Magento users make personalized product recommendations to users.

3. WooCommerce: Excellent WordPress Integration

Looking at the numbers, WooCommerce is the world’s most popular e-commerce and shopping cart system – 766,000 individual domains use it, according to SimilarTech.

The primary benefit of WooCommerce is its ease of integration with WordPress, which is the Internet’s most popular content management system. If you are looking for a solution that has been tried and tested among the greatest variety of uses and systems, the WordPress/WooCommerce combination is hard to beat.

As an open-source platform, WooCommerce is highly flexible but limited when it comes to customer support. Thankfully, its popularity means that you will find ample resources for diagnosing and resolving issues when they occur.

Because WooCommerce is a plug-in – not a standalone e-commerce platform – you need to have some familiarity with WordPress to use it. The benefit, however, is that it is free for WordPress users and offers complete functionality with the enormous range of WordPress themes available online.

Studio Envato can help you integrate WooCommerce into your website. Simply browse through the available developers and pick the one that serves your needs best.

4. BigCommerce: Built-In Marketing and Multi-Channel Integration

BigCommerce stands on its own among e-commerce solutions because it offers multi-channel integration and built-in marketing tools. That means that retailers who wish to sell items on Ebay, Facebook, Google Shopping, and their own domain all at the same time can do so using a single, integrated interface.

This gives it a huge boost in usefulness for enterprise businesses that absolutely need to be present on multiple websites in order to produce brand awareness and drive conversions. Most enterprise-level users find that BigCommerce’s catalog management tool is the best-suited to handling this demanding work.

BigCommerce is also useful for small businesses – BigCommerce Standard costs only $29.95 per month and remains operable until you reach more than $50,000 in sales per year. The Standard version of the platform includes a broad range of useful tools, including payment gateways, social selling tools, and a website builder out-of-the-box.

If you’re looking for BigCommerce integration services, check out Stitch Labs. The company implements its own multi-channel management tools for use with the platform.

5. PrestaShop: Customized Front-End, Organized Back-End

It’s best to think of PrestaShop as a best-of-both-worlds solution matching the simplicity of Shopify with the power and flexibility of Magento. Using PrestaShop, merchants can design a completely customized front-end in only a few minutes while the system’s architecture take care of the messiest parts of back-end development.

Unlike Shopify, PrestaShop does not charge licensing fees or take a percentage of your revenue. This can make it very attractive to newcomers and experienced e-retailers alike. Instead, PrestaShop uses a freemium business model – the platform is free to use and download, while modules and templates come at a price. You’ll have to buy some modules to get a working, professional store in order, but you can pick and choose between them.

The main drawback to PrestaShop is that it charges users for customer support. Actually enjoying professional tech support will cost a minimum of $33 per month. To compensate, it does offer comprehensive tutorial and training services for newcomers.

For PrestaShop integration services, contact Silbersaiten, a German agency with more than 50 finished projects under its belt.

abandoned-cart-optimization

4 Tips for Optimizing Your E-Commerce Shopping Cart for Sales

As an e-commerce business, you know how important it is to nurture a lead all the way through the e-shopping experience.

Whether it’s your enticing marketing, your expertly crafted sales copy, or even just the design of your platform itself, ensuring each step of the buyer’s journey is accompanied by a small push towards a sale is crucial to your business’s success.

While you may be especially adept at bringing the customers in, you may still be having a hard time getting them to follow through with the purchase. The result is a less than satisfactory abandoned cart rate and loads of untapped revenue.

And where is the most common drop-off point when it comes to an e-commerce purchase? The shopping cart.

That’s why as a key decision maker it’s crucial that you know what’s causing your potential customers to abandon ship during this critical stage of the customer lifecycle and – just as importantly – how you can improve conversions with e-commerce shopping cart optimization.

 

The Shopping Cart: Powerful Marketing Tool or Roadblock to a Sale?

Before launching into the tips to optimize your shopping cart by boosting average basket size, reducing your abandoned cart rate, and improving your online customer experience, it’s critical to understand just how crucial a well-constructed checkout experience really is in the world of e-commerce.

As with any other industry, the step where money begins to exchange hands is the most fragile by far. In the mind of the customer, this is the last chance to pull out of the sale and many shoppers tend to experience at least some feelings of hesitation, even when shopping for a product they legitimately need.

In fact, Business Insider reports that around $4 trillion worth of goods are abandoned each year. And with mobile and web shopping becoming even more of a norm, this number is only expected to grow even higher.

Most cart abandonment takes place due to an un-optimized shopping basket and a cumbersome checkout experience. What’s more, it’s estimated that around 63% of revenue lost due to abandoned carts is recoverable with the right techniques.

The question becomes, therefore, what kinds of measures can you take for increasing conversion rates in e-commerce? How can you ensure that your checkout process and shopping cart are both optimized to encourage the sale?

Simple – all you have to do is follow the four tips listed below!

 

1. Product Bundling and Upselling

Two of the best ways of increasing your sales and boosting your average basket size is by creating product bundles and by upselling before checkout.

As most marketers know, coupling two or more products together is an incredibly handy way of skyrocketing revenue. While this is of course most effective when the bundling comes hand in hand with a discount, reducing the overall cost isn’t always necessary. Sometimes simply presenting an additional product to customers that are already sold on one is enough to get them to purchase more.

Keeping in line with this train of thought, upselling is a salesman’s best friend. Creating a separate page that makes it easy to buy complementary items (e.g. coffee filters after buying a brewer, cleaning supplies after picking out a mop) is not only easy to implement, it’s also incredibly effective.

 

2. Incorporating a Recommendation System

Machine learning in e-commerce is becoming more powerful with each passing day. Powerful algorithms and sophisticated computing software have made it so that processes that used to require intensive man-hours and resources are now available for merely a nominal fee.

One of the most noticeable benefits that this advancing technology provides is an increase in customer engagement and more personalization in e-commerce, namely when it comes to a recommendation system.

Systems like Segmentify’s personalized product recommendation use elegant software solutions to provide e-commerce shoppers additional products that they might enjoy based on past behaviors. Incorporating this additional feature means a larger average basket size and lower abandoned cart rates as well.

 

3. Removing Checkout Obstacles

The checkout step is when a potential customer is at his or her most fragile. That’s why it’s critical that you streamline this process as much as humanly possible. That means consolidating screens, simplifying language, and not asking for any unnecessary information.

And most importantly, do not require every customer to make an account! This is by far the most common reason for a high abandoned cart rate. That doesn’t mean you should drop the account system entirely though. Instead, ask if they’d like to create an account…but give them the option of checking out as a guest, as well.

Keeping your checkout process clean and simple will ensure your potential sale isn’t scared off by any unnecessary steps.

 

4. Beware Shipping Costs!

Apart from required account creation, unexpected shipping costs is the main sale deterrent for many customers. While most people already know that it’s coming, there’s just something about seeing your final costs jump up $10 that really makes you reconsider your purchase.

So, what’s the solution? The bar-none ideal solution is to offer free shipping – which can either mean you footing the bill entirely, or just incorporating the costs into the final price. Depending on your market, however, this might not be feasible, of course.

A better solution for many companies might be to incorporate an estimated cost of the purchase that’s displayed before a customer decides to checkout. This can help prepare them for the final bill and, consequently, make the price tag less of a shock. You can also include a cost calculator for a more exact estimate as well.

Whatever option you choose, avoiding a surprising total cost is certainly one of the best ways to boost revenue and motivate your customers.

 

An Optimized Cart Means Conversions

There you have it! Four actionable ways you can decrease your abandoned cart rates and make the sale.

With these techniques, you’re bound to start seeing your checkout process as a marketing asset rather than a liability.

Segmentify wins two prestigious eCommerce software awards for 2017

While there is no universal answer to what it takes to build the perfect eCommerce app, experts and B2B professionals certainly have their ways of distinguishing great from good systems. On today’s competitive market, it is exactly experts who have the last say on whether software pays off or not, which is why Segmentify is trying to impress them just as hard as it copes with its users’ needs.

Good news is, experts appreciated the effort we invest in delivering impeccable service, and made sure readers from all around the world will have the chance to learn more about us. Segmentify is now featured on world’s leading B2B software directories FinancesOnline.com, and distinguished with two of its best eCommerce software awards!

Why Segmentify?

To start with, experts named Segmentify their 2017 Rising Star, having confirmed the great traction between our system and its users. What mattered even more to them was that Segmentify is reliable and easy to use, in response to which they ascribed it the prestigious Great User Experience Award.

Once they examined in detail our system’s conversion optimization capacity, experts also decided to include Segmentify on the list of the best eCommerce software tools for 2017, where they recommend it because of the numerous conversion optimization tools, which empowers e-commerce managers to make real-time personalized product recommendation, engage with their visitors and boost basket average value by as much as 23%. According to them, Segmentify also shines in enabling e-commerce professionals to make accurate budget allocation in various marketing channels; monitor performance of their e-stores and online shopping trends to improve their decision making processes. Last, but not least, our system was praised because of its flexible pricing scheme, and the array of connectivity options which make it usable in every software environment.