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Top E-commerce Tips to Beat the Coronavirus Pandemic

Tag: tips and tricks

The coronavirus outbreak, followed by lockdowns and social distancing practices, has made it essential for almost everyone to go online and shop for everyday items. The impact of this ongoing crisis has been profound on the e-commerce landscape. While some e-commerce segments are thriving, some others are facing major hurdles. However, as a whole, the e-commerce industry has adapted itself to the changed circumstances in a quick and timely manner. Online businesses have undertaken multiple steps to ensure that their customers receive the best possible services during these challenging times. You too can check out some of the top tips to thrive during this pandemic and keep your business up and running.

  • Focus on social media: While restrictions on the movement of goods and people may have impacted your business in a negative manner, keep in mind that these restrictions are forcing people to spend more time on the internet, consuming social media content. So, this is the best time to fully harness the potential of social media platforms and ramp up your engagement strategy. You can create timely and impactful content and media to remain in contact with your existing clientele and to expand into new market segments. The focus on social media will also ensure that your loyal customers continue to remain so in future as well.

 

  • Upgrade your website and infrastructure: Technology is constantly changing, and often, you may not be able to catch up with the latest trends. This is especially true during normal times when your business is thriving and you do not want to risk any breakdown or interruption of the services. However, the pandemic has changed the concept of normalcy drastically, and you must make sure to use this downtime in a constructive manner. So, try and make changes to your website and other areas of your business such as optimizing your logistics. You can try a new layout for your online store or install a new and improved checkout system. Relatively low business volume will make it easy for you to customize the new changes till you zero in on one that suits you the best.

 

  • Engage your customer base: The pandemic has also brought you a unique opportunity to spend some time connecting with your customer base. However, your efforts need not be restricted to your existing clients, as you may want to engage with untapped areas of your target markets. Now, there are several ways to build a connection with your present and prospective clients. You can engage in community services at the local level, which may provide you an opportunity to know your client base better. You can also arrange an online charity drive and fundraising events. These steps will earn you the much needed social reputation while letting you help your community.

 

  • Revamp your financials and records: If you have been planning to try out a new billing system or bookkeeping software, then this is the right time to do so. During busy times, it may not seem appropriate to try out new things as they may lead to disruption of services. So, you can use this downtime for testing things and procedures which may have long term impact on your business. Once your business picks up again, these little tweaks may bring about substantial efficiency. Additionally, installing these systems will also make your business more customer-friendly.

 

  • Network more: While it is natural that you would want to use this downtime for engaging your customers, it is also prudent to ensure that you widen your network in other areas. This temporary slump has provided you an excellent opportunity to engage with other stakeholders in your business, such as your investors and other collaborators. So, take this time to work on new financial strategies with your investors. You may also want to fine tune your upcoming marketing campaigns. Similarly, remain in close contact with your creative partners too, such as artists, graphic designers etc. You can use this time to chart strategies which can be implemented once things go back to normal.

To conclude, keep these easy tips in mind and make the best use of the time available during this breakout. Lockdowns won’t be forever and you should be prepared when they end.

Adding-A-Payment-Gateway-to-Your E-Commerce-Site

Every e-commerce business needs a reliable payment gateway to serve its clients and to boost its revenue. There are various parameters which define the robustness and effectiveness of a payment gateway system. Some of these metrics are speed, accuracy and security. In order to make sure that your business and clients get the best of the services, here are some tips you may use while adding a payment gateway.

  1. Recurring vs. One Time Fees: The cost of implementing and operating a payment gateway is an important parameter which needs to be considered in the decision phase. Different payment gateways charge their fees in different manners. Some have upfront onetime costs while others charge recurring fees, generally based on volume. Yet other payment gateways may practice a mix of these charges. It is important that you take your time to fully analyze the impact of such charges on your bottom line. Also, if the charges are levied on percentage basis, then consider the overall impact as this kind of charges generally add up pretty quick once your business takes off.
  2. Pay Attention to Purchasing Funnel: Analyzing the purchasing funnel means that you take cognizance of the number of steps needed to get the payment confirmed. While it is important to ensure the security and certainty of the payment made, a large number of steps are rather off-putting and may prompt clients to walk away. Similarly, your payment gateway should only seek appropriate amount of information. It is imperative that you do not use payment process as a means of collecting data about your clients. You should also pay attention to the integration of payment gateway with your website so that your clients have a seamless experience and are not subjected to repetitive steps. It may take you several attempts to determine an optimal purchasing funnel for your business.
  3. Consider the Add-Ons: Payment gateways come in different shapes and sizes. Most of these gateways also provide you with opportunities to customize them for your optimal use. Some of the service providers offer automatic billing support which may or may not be important for your business. Since these add-ons come with a price tag, it is essential that you consider these options and compare their benefits with associated costs. Another point of customization is to be able to handle foreign transactions. If you are looking to expand your business beyond your national boundaries, then you should seriously consider getting this feature for your payment gateway. It is generally surmised that the clients appreciate such additional features which allow them to complete their transactions smoothly.
  4. Diversify: Since the payment process involves providing sensitive information, it is important that you pick your payment gateway carefully. It is essential that you analyze the reputation of the service providers to ensure that their offerings work smoothly and without excessive downtime. Further, it is important that your payment gateway provides security of the transaction and the data. These factors should be supplemented with the ease of carrying out the transaction and saving time. It should also be ensured that all the legal requirements are fully complied with. This is especially important if you carry out cross border transactions and deal in foreign exchange.
  5. Keep it Simple: While it is tempting to keep adding various features and options to the payment process system, the better strategy is to optimize such addons and the simplicity of the system. The checkout process provided by your payment gateway provider should be fast and simple. There should not be excessive forms or columns to fill in order to proceed with the checkout. Further, the payment options may also be limited so that their proper security and robustness is assured.

The choice of a payment gateways services provider is highly crucial. Now, that there has been massive proliferation of cyber-attacks, it is vital that the sensitive data shared by your clients is secured. Apart from this main requirement, the checkout process should be tailor made to meet your and your clients’ requirements. It is important to have adequate number of payment options while also offering additional features such as the ability to check out as a guest.

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The-Psychology-of-an-Online-Shopper

In order to reap the full benefits of your online business venture, it is important to understand the psychology and the motivation behind the process of online shopping. Online shopping behaviorism is a relatively new yet a powerful concept. Understanding the psychology of your online customers is vital for boosting the traffic to your website and for controlling various metrics, such as the rate of cart abandonment and failed checkouts. There are several factors which drive a consumer to make purchasing decisions. While many of these factors are conscious, some of them may be unconscious as well. So, let’s take a look at how your business can benefit by understanding the psychology of an online shopper.

  • Create a sense of belongingness: Since online shopping lacks the tactile experience offered by offline shopping, it is imperative that you take extra steps to ensure that your customers are able to mimic their real-life shopping experience online as well. There are several initiatives you can take to ensure this kind of experience. If your catalog uses models, then ensure that you select your models in such a manner that your customers are able to relate to them. Some of the factors to keep in mind are age and gender. Make sure that your models are in line with the demographics of your target market.
  • Reciprocate the gesture: Online shopping is all about instant gratification. You can further boost this feeling by offering something in return to your customers. Apart from providing them with their desired goods and services, you can also offer discounts or free gifts on their purchase. With this strategy, you can provide value to your customers, which is over and above their requirements. This is also a foolproof method to encourage customer loyalty and ensure repeat business. You can also do so by making their shopping process easier and convenient. With the growing use of mobile phones, you should ensure that your website is optimized for smaller screens as well.
  • Spruce up your online store: Just like an offline store, the aesthetics of your online store may have a strong impact on your customers’ buying decisions. It is highly recommended that you choose an appropriate theme for your online store and then manage its overall presentation on the basis of that theme. The visual appearance of your online store is one of the most important factors that can impact the purchasing decision of your clients. You should pay special attention to the differentiating features of your target market and then design your store accordingly. Apart from the curation of items that are to be featured for shopping, the color schema of your store should also be pleasing.
  • Guide your clients: You can lead your clients to the right kind of products and services in your store by offering visual and psychological cues. You should make sure that your online store has a simple navigation process. It should also be intuitive in nature so that the entire journey feels natural to your clients. You can also integrate links and suggestions to direct your customers to certain sections and products. Online stores also follow quite a few guidelines which are applicable to offline stores. Like, you should place your high priced and high margin items in the line of sight of your clients so as to ensure that these items get the proper attention.
  • Be transparent: It is important that your customers are provided complete and accurate information. Such information is important for building trust. Unlike offline shopping, e-commerce lacks the personal touch and the ability to test goods beforehand. In such situations, it is vital that you provide extra incentive to your clients to ensure a sale. The importance of transparency cannot be overemphasized in such cases. All the expenses related to purchase, including taxes and shipping charges etc. should be explicitly stated, so as to minimize the chances of cart abandonment. Similarly, shoppers should also be made aware of the expected delivery time and possible issues.

The e-commerce has already gained widespread acceptance with the masses, and is growing at a fast pace. In order to fully optimize the benefits of this trend, you can keep these simple tips in mind and make your online business more user-friendly and efficient.

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How-to-Attract-Millennial-Shoppers-to-Your-Online-Store

Millennial customers have transformed the modern shopping scene in dramatic ways. This is the generation that has witnessed rapid technological development while growing up and is extremely comfortable using the latest digital innovations. So, to ensure that your online business thrives, it is important that you prepare your strategies keeping these millennial customers in mind.Why? Well, this generation shops for almost everything online, from clothes and books to movie tickets, insurance and even expensive jewelry. Now, if you are worried that this task might be easier said than done, the simple tricks mentioned here can help you out.By following these, you can reel in more millennial shoppers, build a solid customer base,and realize more profits in no time.

Personalize the Experience: Millennial shoppers believe in unique experiences and ultimate convenience. Therefore, it is important that your online store is able to provide them a unique ambiance. The overall user experience needs to be personalized in a holistic manner. In order to implement the process, you should define your target market first. Your website design, your curated items and customer accounts should be designed accordingly. You can further enhance the experience by displaying your client’s name when they login to your site. It is also recommended that you send the promotional mails directly addressing the clients by their names, thus making the experience more personal to them. The content and graphics in such mails should also be personalized as much as possible.

Use Multichannel Strategy: While millennial shoppers are super comfortable with technology, it is only natural that they will not stick to one particular channel. In order to capture their interest and keep them engaged, it is important that your online business adopts a multichannel strategy. In simple terms, multichannel strategy incorporates both marketplace and digital marketing strategies. You should also optimize your website for different screen sizes, ranging from tiny phones to big screen computers. As more and more people are moving towards mobile shopping, your website should be tweaked to suit handheld screens. Further, your website should be easy to load even on slower networks. You should also work on your supply chain and it should be properly integrated with your online and offline stores.

Invest in Social Media: Most online shoppers throng to social media platforms before making any purchase. They do it to gather more information, seek advice and to find a connection with the business in question. Therefore, it is important that you bolster your online media presence. It will help you build your brand value as well as engage your target market. Social media can also be used for addressing various issues faced by your clients and for disseminating important information. Today, there are several social media sites available such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter,etc. You should ensure that you have a comprehensive strategy regarding the use of social media, so that all these platforms provide a cohesive image of your business.

Enhance User Experience: Millennial customers put a premium on experience, and so, you need to ensure that your business is capable of providing a holistic ambiance to them. The strategy for ensuring customer satisfaction needs to be comprehensive so that various facets of the business are involved. It may start with your online store layout where the color scheme, placement of items and curation is done with the aim of enhancing user experience. Another important aspect of excellent user experience is the integration of different services. The payment system should be simple and secure while the cart checkout system needs to be intuitive. Overall, different systems running the business should work in tandem, to ensure that the customers get a seamless experience.

Be Dynamic: Millennial shoppers quickly adapt to changes and are highly dynamic. In order to keep them interested, it is important that your online business practices the same formula. For example, you can reset your product line frequently to offer new items to your clients. You may also seek to tweak your website design to keep it looking fresh and attractive. However, you should also ensure that such frequent changes do not change the basic structure of your business. Also, these changes need to be intuitive, to help customers navigate through them easily.

To conclude, the millennial generation can prove to be an excellent customer base, provided your business is able to adopt dynamic practices to suit their changing requirements. With the above guidelines though, you can make your online store more suitable for millennial shoppers without wasting much time.

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5-Ways-Businesses-Can-Help-Their-Communities-during-COVID-19-Pandemic

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the COVID 19 pandemic has led to widespread panic and despair all over the world. After all, no one was prepared for a crisis of this magnitude. Currently, people are restricted in terms of movements and their access to the outside world, which is causing various physical and mental health issues. Since normal working conditions are suffering, businesses need to take certain smart steps to promote the wellbeing of their communities. Whether you are running a small business or a have a multinational empire, you can make your contribution towards maintaining normalcy by following a few simple tips.

Ensure the welfare of your team

Every business has an obligation to take proper care of its workforce. During the current pandemic, many businesses have taken several steps to ensure that their employees stay safe. Businesses have taken their operations online, which not only helps their workforce but also their customers. This way, they are able to provide essential services to their clients and keep their employees safe at the same time. Even those businesses that cannot let their workers telecommute can ensure their welfare by providing protective equipment like face masks and sanitizers. Many businesses have decided to provide their employees with extra wages too.

Re-purposing the facilities

Since most businesses are closed for regular operations, they can contribute to their communities by donating their idle spaces. For instance, in many areas, empty hotels and hostels have been converted into makeshift shelters for vulnerable people. Such re-purposing helps in ensuring that limited resources don’t get exhausted by the increasing number of patients. Many factories have donated their facilities for manufacturing of essential items such as hand sanitizers and face masks. Many tech companies are also collaborating for tracking the spread of the virus and for keeping people safe. Overall, all businesses are doing their bit by ensuring the efficient utilization of the resources at their disposal.

Organize fundraisers or voluntary activities

Many businesses have extensive networks that can be utilized intelligently during the time of a crisis. Organizing various charity activities, such as fundraising or offering resources for community use can help, for example. Such activities can be undertaken by businesses operating at any level. Even the smallest of businesses can contribute by organizing such events in their localities. Creative approaches can also be taken in this regard. Like, many organizations are using their resources to send digital messages to people who are in need and in isolation.

Help your business partners

No business can thrive in isolation. This is the reason why, during a pandemic, it is imperative to ensure the welfare of your business partners. This is especially true if you outsource several of your business functions. So, you should ensure that you have made the necessary payments that are due to your partners. If your business has suffered heavy losses, instead of defaulting on your due payments, try to work out an equitable solution with your business partners. It is important that you maintain proper work relationships with collaborators, so that nobody has to bear a disproportionate financial burden. Businesses can ensure their long-term survival by providing support to their partners.

Stay in touch with your community

COVID 19 may have resulted in social distancing, but it does not mean that you cannot remain in touch with your surroundings. With the help of modern technological tools, you can ensure that you are aware of your local environment. Apart from supporting the general public, you can also check in on your employees and your business associates. Many businesses have also started community groups where they can pool their resources for the benefit of their local societies. Such community spirit is necessary for sailing through these tough times. You can also organize virtual events to boost the team spirit and morals in your surroundings.

To conclude

COVID 19 has presented our society with an unprecedented situation. However, it has also highlighted the importance of working together for attaining collaborative goals. It has provided businesses with an opportunity to set an example and ensure the welfare of their local economy. And by following the above tips, you can achieve that easily.