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Launching an E-Commerce Business? Here are 7 Web Design Mistakes To Avoid

Category: Startup

Launching an E-Commerce Business? Here are 7 Web Design Mistakes To Avoid

Launching an E-Commerce Business? Here are 7 Web Design Mistakes To Avoid

The growth of e-commerce is simply phenomenal. In 2017 alone, the ecommerce industry accounted for around $2.3 trillion in sales, and the number will grow to $4.5 trillion in 2021 according to Statista. In the U.S., e-commerce accounts for 10% of retail sales with a projected increase of 15% each year. But it is not all rosy because millions of ecommerce stores collapse within a few months of launch.  According to a Fortune Report, more than half of startups fail, and this should be a warning sign. One of the main reasons for such failure is poor web design. Now that all your transactions will happen online, you need a professionally designed website to meet growing demand from your customers. Many online retailers rush to set up stores only to experience hiccups arising from unreliable e-commerce designs.

This article highlights some of the most common design mistakes that online retailers make and proposes tips to avoid them. Read on.

  1. Poor Image Quality

The power of visuals in marketing cannot be overemphasized.  Your e-commerce website images are the first thing visitors will see and if they are not impressive, it is likely you will lose business. The online shoppers have many choices with other online stores competing for their attention. If you don’t display high-resolution product images, you risk turning off potential buyers because they will question your credibility. Investing in high-resolution images is similar to a brick-and-mortar store investing in lighting and other techniques to improve product displays.

  1. Confusing/ Scanty Product Descriptions

When potential customers visit your ecommerce store, they expect to get all the information they need about your products or services. A major pitfall in ecommerce web design is a failure to include clear, helpful product description or worse still, using scanty and confusing descriptions. Good copywriting and product descriptions are integral in your e-commerce web design to avoid high bounce rates and high cart abandonment rates. Provide relevant information but avoid overloading the product descriptions as this might confuse the readers.

  1. Limited Payment Methods

One of the most important aspects of a good e-commerce web design is seamless user experience. To provide this, you not only have to take payments online but you must make the process fast and easy. You should use a payment gateway that allows multiple payment options to deliver an enjoyable user experience. Your e-commerce design must integrate multiple payment options to avoid cart abandonment and to ensure the customer completes the purchase journey.

  1. Lack of Customer Support Information

While online shopping has increased tremendously over the years, most shoppers still need a lot of information before completing purchases. For this reason, your e-commerce web design must integrate a well-detailed contact page for easy communication. Include all communication channels including phone, email, social media networks, and live chat among others.  If a customer needs to contact your store, it should be a quick and simple process. For this reason, add your contact information in strategic places on the web pages.

  1. Failure to Include Shipping Information

A quick glance at most online customer complaints shows that shipping is a very critical issue. It can make or break your e-commerce store. If you want to create a seamless user experience, make sure you provide comprehensive shipping information on your e-commerce website.

Failure to include shipping details including proper shipping rates, timelines, product tracking and other details is a common web design mistake that you have to avoid. It leads to low revenues because shoppers need these details before making a purchase.

  1. Cluttered/Over-Crowded/ Complicated Design

Don’t fall for the temptation to include everything in your website because this will lead to loss of business. Online shoppers have a short attention span and they want to find whatever they need fast. Avoid an overcrowded web design as it is ugly and confuses potential buyers.

  1. A Non- Mobile-Friendly Web Design

Google has already indicated that mobile internet has surpassed desktop access and this is enough reason to invest in mobile-friendly web designs. A responsive e-commerce website helps leverage the growing mobile internet market. With Mobile First Index, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project and other initiatives emphasizing the importance of mobile, you can only overlook a mobile-friendly web design at your own peril.

There are many other web design flaws such as slow loading time, complicated sign-up forms, dated design, lack of clear call to action (CTA) among others. Avoid these web design mistakes to deliver a world-class customer experience which in turn leads to reduction in bounce rates, higher sales conversion, customer loyalty, and a good brand image.

Quick Secrets to Successful User Onboarding

Quick Secrets to Successful User Onboarding

The rapid development of the e-commerce industry necessitates equally fast adjustments from business owners. One of the most important aspects of an online business is user experience and this is where your business will fail or succeed.  By embracing new technologies, online businesses can now provide a seamless user experience, thus gaining a competitive edge. Online payment platforms are among these critical technologies every online business must embrace in its endeavor for improved UX. If you plan to leverage a new payment platform on your website, it is important to consider user onboarding. This entails increasing the chances that new users become successful when adopting your application. It is the most crucial yet frustrating element of a product launch because it determines the first impression. As they say, first impressions are crucial and for this reason, developers and website owners must learn how to improve user onboarding. This article tackles some crucial things a software developer should consider to help users find new value and success when using their product. Read on.

Why User Onboarding Matters

When thinking of customer retention in e-commerce, most business owners adopt a wait-and-see approach. The idea is to wait for a few weeks after a product launches on the website and start making changes that will hopefully retain users.

  • Sells Your Products Value Proposition

Now, internet users have an infamously short attention span and this is enough reason to develop an intuitive onboarding experience. Such an experience enlightens users in the essentials of the payment solutions system. User onboarding sells your product’s value propositions and helps users experience the benefits as fast as possible thus reducing the possibility of dropping out.

  • Greater Conversions

It is important to appreciate that great conversions are about proving to customers your product’s value and full potential in the product launch and trial. User onboarding is crucial not only in improving the growth rate of users on your e-commerce platform and revenue but also in customer retention.

  • Customer Retention

Customer retention has now emerged as a more important business objective surpassing acquisition. In essence, user onboarding is a chance to create a great first impression. In this case, once the software user installs your product, they expect to get value and that’s what user onboarding is about.

  • Setting the Tone Of Interactions

Remember, the first experience a user has on the software sets the tone for your relationship and determines whether this will be a long-term interaction.

Small Tweaks to Make User Onboarding Work 

While user onboarding remains a nascent aspect of website development, some trendsetters have already charted the way. Some of the little things you can do make your online payment gateway work during the launch phase include:

  1. Setting realistic expectations: Show users where they are in the process of using the payment system and how far they have to go. Through the Endowed Progress Effect, you will motivate them to complete the steps and own the process.
  2. Map User Journeys/Tailor the experience: You need to understand the users’ persona to map their journey when using the product. What are the user’s needs, goals and motivations when using the payment application on your site? Are they worried about the cost? Do they need some education about the product? Try tailoring the product to suit the diverse needs of target users.
  3. Offer a compelling value proposition early: You must communicate the value proposition early enough through a simple, clear description of what makes your payment system unique. Make sure you help the user understand cost implications and benefits of the software early to spur further interest.
  4. Simplify: Simplicity is underrated in website development, yet it makes the difference between a successful system and a failed one. Keep things simple in the free trial form, a name, an email, or a social login such as Google or Facebook will work great for user onboarding.
  5. Choose a specific end goal for your user to reach: Make sure you understand where you want users to end the process and what is to be achieved there. Remember always to put the user’s goals first and not your product’s goals.
  6. Reduce friction: A poor sign-up process can ruin the onboarding. While friction will occur due to questions and permissions, you can reduce it through good interface design. Try to decrease form completion time through online form validation and build trust through customer reviews, and testimonials throughout the process.
  7. Use guided interactions: This educates and familiarizes users with the core features of the software.

These are just a few of the little things you can do when learning how to integrate payment gateway.  It will make the onboarding process successful leading to increased customer retention.

Payment Gateway Providers 101 – Why and How They Matter in Online Payment Processing

Payment Gateway Providers 101 – Why and How They Matter in Online Payment Processing

The stiff competition in the online ecosystem calls for innovative strategies to stay ahead of your competition. One of the easiest ways to do this is by offering a seamless customer experience.  A payment gateway comes in handy in helping you offer a smooth user experience by allowing easier processing of payments on your ecommerce store. If you plan to set up an online business or if you have problems with billing, it is crucial to learn how to get these payment gateways working for you. Here are the main points you need to know about payment gateways. Keep reading.
How the Payment Gateway Works

To make things clearer, you need to understand what a payment gateway does. Now, in an online payment transaction, there is the merchant/business, the online customer, and the technology. In the part of the technology, you have the payment gateway (linking your site’s shopping cart to the card processor) and the payment processor.

During a transaction, a payment gateway encrypts credit/debit card data and keeps it private before sending it to the payment processor. The processor then sends this encrypted information to the issuing bank which accepts or declines depending on availability of funds and other factors.

In the simplest understanding, the payment gateway is a software integrated into your ecommerce website to send all of your credit card transactions to your credit card processors. At the same time, it also sends a message back from your credit card processor letting you know if a particular transaction has been authorized.

The Crucial Role of Payment Gateways

To fully understand the reason as to why you need the best payment gateway for your ecommerce store, consider the following:

  1. Serves as the middleman: The payment gateway reduces the temporal distance and makes payment possible in a matter of seconds. This software connects the customer’s bank, your bank, the acquiring bank, and the issuing bank.
  2. Authentication: Online transactions are fraught with risks and many businesses lose billions each year. An efficient payment gateway authenticates the card information and Okays the transaction to continue. There are no fears about losing money on your end.
  3. Security/Minimizing risk: In an ecommerce environment where risks are high, you need a system that mitigates such risks through encryption. You don’t want to lose your customers’ sensitive data when processing payment as this can ruin your business. The east payment gateway ensures compliance with security standards including Payment Card Data Security Standard among others.
  4. Hassle-free payment transactions: When you have an effective payment gateway, your payment transactions will flow smoothly and this boosts customer retention. The software makes the process hassle-free for both the merchant and the buyer.
  5. Reporting tool: All information collected during a transaction is crucial for your business and as such the payment gateway shares this to the parties concerned.

In essence, payment gateways are convenient, user-friendly and they have low commissions. They reduce the risk of theft and loss, which could tarnish your company’s reputation. Whatever the industry you are in, a good payment gateway is a handy tool in providing a seamless customer experience.

When shopping for a payment gateway, consider your business needs first. Look for multiple features such as encryption, recurring billing, virtual terminal, PCI Compliance and ease of integration with other tools such as Quickbooks. Payment gateway charges also vary and include setup fees, monthly fees, registration fees, payment processing fees, transaction fees, refund fees, and chargeback fees, limit fees, batch processing fee, termination fees and fund transfer fee among others.

You must also consider data security among other features. The gateway should be easy to set up and user-friendly. You should also compare the benefits of hosted vs. integrated gateways before picking one of them. Using this information, go ahead and leverage the best payment gateway to stay ahead of the pack in your industry.

How to Set the Right Price for your Product or Service

How to Set the Right Price for your Product or Service

Placing an appropriate price tag on a product or service is a sensitive task. To generate sufficient profit, you have to set the right price. At the same time, you cannot exaggerate it because this will keep buyers away from your store. The following set of recommendations will help you in optimizing the pricing strategy for your e-commerce business.

Cost Analysis

Right from manufacturing to the delivery of the product, everything is driven by money. There are various costs involved in a business, directly or indirectly associated with the product or service. The market price depends on the costs and expenses incurred. The profit is what you get after deducting costs from the market price.

The direct costs are associated with the manufacturing the product or conceptualizing a service. The overhead costs include fixed and variable costs like rent, salaries, administrative expenses, warehouse maintenance, advertising costs, payment gateway charges, and so on. After considering all these aspects, you can determine the right selling price.

Market Evaluation

You should be aware of the consumer behavior and industry trends to accomplish the task of market evaluation. Identify and segregate your customers on the basis of demographics, buying trends, and so on. Work on determining the amount of money they are willing to pay for your product or service. You can conduct surveys to gather complete information.

Competition Analysis

There is a rare chance that you don’t have competition in your niche, and therefore, you should be prepared to perform competition analysis. The procedure involves evaluating their business process, analyzing products or services, identifying their tie-ups, and understanding their pricing strategy. You have to offer a superior product or service, at a competitive price, to gain prominence in the market.

Value Proposition

The value proposition is an art, and if you can master this, you can reap maximum benefits. Finalizing a price depends on the value of your offering. If you are dealing in premium products or expert services, you cannot set a low price. You have to maintain a suitable price to maintain its value proposition.

In addition to these, you can also work on user experience. For example, you can install a payment gateway for smooth and swift online payments. Customers are sensitive, and they are willing to pay more if you enhance their shopping experience.

Marketing and Promotions

Understand buyer’s psychology to mark the correct price of your product or service. During marketing stints, utilize tactics that will attract the buyers. For example, when a buyer sees a “SALE” tag, he or she develops an urge to check out the product. Similarly, odd numbers in the price tag can rake in more sales. Instead of a boring 500, simply mark the price as 499. Although there is no significant change in the price, it will definitely attract more onlookers.

Paid promotions can add up to the overhead costs. Whether you opt for social media promotions, search engine promotions, influencer marketing, or affiliate marketing; prepare an estimate and consider it at the time of pricing.

Pricing Options

Some of the pricing methods that you can adopt include:

  • Penetration pricing – This is suitable when you plan to acquire a market share in the initial stage. Initially, you can offer a low price and increase it later when you have established your presence.
  • Pre-emptive pricing – You have numerous competitors in your niche. To disrupt their monopoly, you can offer similar products or services at lesser prices.
  • Premium decoy pricing – When you plan to boost sales of a particular product, simply increase the price of other products so that customer opts for the product with the lowest price.
  • Price Leadership – When you established your brand and customers vouch for your product or services, you can set up a convenient price, without worrying about market trends and competitors’ presence.

You can deploy any or all of the aforementioned suggestions to finalize the product or service price. Your ultimate aim should be to maximize revenue and minimize expenditure. You can also innovate and apply pricing strategies or experiment with different combinations of pricing methods to obtain best results.

How Not to Get Hacked: 8 Security Steps for Your Small Business

How Not to Get Hacked: 8 Security Steps for Your Small Business

Hacking is a very real danger for small businesses that go online to connect with more customers and improve their sales. Just like a physical store, your e-store or website is not safe unless you take proper precautions against fraudsters who want to steal your sensitive information, customer data or card details. Hackers often have other malicious intents too, like tarnishing your reputation by changing the website content or putting offensive messages on your customer’s screen. And they are fast too, which means you must be on your guard always to prevent security breaches and report hacking attacks whenever they happen. It is your legal obligation these days as well. So, here are 8 ways to get started:

  • Be more careful about access control – You need to make your website’s admin level stronger to prevent the entry of hackers. So, request your customers to use usernames and passwords that are complex and hard to guess. Changing the database prefix from wp6 to something which is more difficult to guess is a good idea too. Put a limit on login attempts, as email accounts get hacked too nowadays and sending a password reset link numerous times can pose risk. Avoid sending login information via email, or a hacker who has gained control over the account can use it for malicious purposes.
  • Never ignore updates – Installing regular updates on your system is essential if you want your security software to actually prevent hacking incidents. If you delay an update, your website will get exposed to the possibility of phishing attempts or identity thefts. Do note that hackers are constantly looking for websites that have security vulnerabilities, and once any one hacker knows how to get into your system, even others will.
  • Consider installing security applications – By installing paid security applications, you can prevent hacking attacks better. They offer an extra layer of security and conceal the identity of your website’s CMS as well. These applications work very well against automated hacking tools, which go through numerous websites in an hour to look for security vulnerabilities.
  • A WAF or Web Application Firewall is a must – This software or hardware based firewall is like a filter between your data connection and website server. It reads all the data that passes through it and can hence prevent hacks, malicious bots and spamming. A WAF is usually cloud-based and has complete control on the incoming traffic for your website.
  • Enhance network security – There are some simple measures you can take to avoid getting hacked on a daily basis. For instance, make sure your customers as well as employees change their passwords regularly. Also, passwords should be complex, hard to guess and should never be noted down anywhere. Logins should expire if the session is inactive for a while. And every time a device is connected to a network, it should be checked for malware.
  • Use a payment gateway with SSL – Every small business needs to use a secure payment gateway like PayTabs where an encrypted SSL protocol is used to transfer sensitive information between your database and website. This way, no one can read or access data like customer details or card information while they are being transferred, without proper authorization.
  • Avoid free Wi-Fi – If you are connecting to the internet outside office, try using a private hotspot through your smartphone or a VPN. Stay away from free Wi-Fi connections. A VPN will first log you into a private network before you can gain access to an open network, and hence is an added layer of safety.
  • Backup always – A website can sometimes become a prey to hacking attacks, despite the many security measures you take. Hence, it is wise to backup data and files every day, multiple times. Try to backup both onsite and offsite and in several locations. This way, you will still have your data if your hard drive fails.

As a small business in the online world, you need to be extra careful to keep hackers and fraudsters at bay. So, keep the above tips in mind and stay updated with steps to prevent hacking in future as well.