Megaventory Blog - Online Inventory Management Software, Order fulfillment and Control System
This is the company blog for megaventory, an online software that helps small businesses that buy, sell and manufacture physical products to manage sales, purchasing, manufacturing and inventory. We blog about new features and updates but also about enterprise software, small businesses, cloud computing and the industry in general.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

3 Ingredients to Fight Cart Abandonment in E-commerce

This is a guest post by guest contributor Robin Singh



Few things are more frustrating for ecommerce businesses than customers failing to check out their shopping carts. Even if your website is effective enough to convince a customer to fill their online shopping bag, there is never a guarantee that they will follow through with their purchase.

According to Baymard.com, a reputed e-commerce analytics website, the average abandonment rate for online shopping carts is approximately 68%. This number is too high to ignore and further proves the importance of slowing down cart abandonment rates for the success of your e-commerce business.

The shopping bag abandonment rate of your website can be calculated by dividing the total number of finalized transactions by the total number of initiated transactions. This is an important statistic for e-tailers to consider because high abandonment rate could hint that your website has substandard or even poor user experience.

Here are 3 main ingredients that eliminate cart abandonment for your e-commerce business:


1. Issue free or flat-rate shipping


High shipping rates on your items can repel even the most interested customers that need your products. Put yourself in a scenario where you're an online shopper. You finally spot the item you want and put it in your shopping bag. After filling out the address details, you're surprised to find out a shipping rate that makes up half of the price of the product itself! That’s a good reason enough to abandon the item completely and look for alternatives on a different site.

Online shoppers are usually price-sensitive, so it is integral for you to provide free or a small flat shipping rate for all items.  

Free shipping rates will encourage customers to come back to your site to make more purchases. This results in more sales revenue generated as well as increased website recognition as satisfied customers are likely to recommend your site to their friends and colleagues.

Research from UPS revealed that over half of the top 10 reasons for cart abandonment deals with shipping. There are various ways to combat this.

zappos
Zappos is an e-commerce website that provides free shipping for all their items.

  • Display the shipping cost early. Never lead your customers and then hit them with your shipping costs. This catches them off-guard and results in them leaving your site in dissapointment.
  • Display shipping rates based on location. Online customers usually search for the cost of shipping specifically to their location before committing to a purchase. Incorporate a shipping cost calculator close to the price displayed on the item.
  • Flat rate shipping. A standard and fixed shipping rate lets your customers know the price they can expect when it comes time to check out.


2. Re-target customers


Customers have lives and can face various distractions that hinder completions of their online purchases. Customers may also be time-conscious and may not have time to fill out all details in the checkout process, so they place an item in their cart to be checkout out on another day.

It's important for e-tailers to understand these circumstances and take action by re-targeting cart abandoners to remind them about their cart. 

There are three main ways to do this:

A) Targeted Ads


Customers that land on your site leave behind online traces termed as “cookies”. You can track customers by analyzing cookies and place reminder ads whenever they search for products similar to yours.

For example, your PPC banner will appear on the browser of your customers to recapture their interest in purchasing.

koovs
E-Commerce website Koovs uses Pay Per Click (PPC) ads to for specific re-targeting.

B) E-mails


Still one of the most efficient acquisition tools - e-mail - ensures that your message reaches your audience and is seen. Sending reminder e-mails that are embedded with links to the item page can encourage action on customer's end. It's critical to send out reminder e-mails within 24 hours after cart abandonment, as conversion rates fall 50% after a day.

C) Personal Interactions


Simply calling them at an appropriate time (derived from conducting consumer research) can alert consumers to take action. Incorporating persuasive telemarketers with a pleasant voice tone can go a long way in convincing shoppers to stop what they’re doing and complete the purchase of the abandoned item.



3. Shorten checkout process


The majority of online shoppers abandon their carts during the checkout phase. The logistics involving the completion of online payments may take up a lot of the customers' time and drive them away from completing the payment. Filling information like payment terms, address, and personal information in separate pages might be too long of a process, especially if the customer is on their mobile phone or their connection is slow.

Make sure that your website’s entire purchase process takes less than 7 steps. For instance, Wal-Mart received countless complaints from their customers about their checkout process, which was ironically 7 steps. Ideally, the process should not take more than 4 pages.

bigcommerce
The checkout process of the above e-commerce software can be completed in a few pages, with the customer only having to fill out information on one page.

It may sound like a tough task, but if you add these three ingredients to your e-commerce sales recipe, then you can expect to see your cart abandonment rates plummet. Not only that, you can expect your sales to increase due to the incorporation of free/flat rate shipping, shortened checkout process, and re-targeting cart abandoners. 

While there can be various reasons to why an online shopper might abandon his/her cart, if e-commerce sites address the most common reasons to customer cart abandonment they can expect most cases to be reversed in a short time.



Robin is a Technical Support Executive. He is an expert in knowledge management and various knowledge base tools. Currently, he is a resident knowledge management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys reading and traveling.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Getting the Most out of Cyber Monday



With Cyber Monday less than month away, holiday season is quickly approaching. Last year on Cyber Monday, consumers spent nearly $3,5 billion according to Adobe Digital Insights. These results easily blew past initial estimates.

How this year will be? Well, if we take into account the ongoing increase in online sales, it looks that the pie has got big enough for every ecommerce player to take a bite.

In other words, it is the perfect time for you to drive traffic to your online store and make sales.


The deals on Cyber Monday are online only and generally offered by smaller retailers that cannot compete with the big retailers who do major clearances during Black Friday.

But, how to do this?

We asked successful retailers and experts to share their best tips on how they make the most out of Cyber Monday.

Let’s dive in.


Optimize your Website for Traffic


With all the offers and discounts, chances are (and the main goal) your website will see a high influx in traffic and you have to make sure that it can be handled. If customers can’t reach your site, they won’t complete their purchases. And if your site is too slow, it will leave a bad taste and discourage them to shop again.

“Only a one second delay on the website can make your Cyber Monday unprofitable”, warns Danyal Effendi from PureVPN. “Retailers should perform website stress-test and speed-test and consult their hosting/data-center providers for optimum service.”

Pro tip: Contact your hosting provider well in advance and even arrange a special deal for additional space in their servers.


Design Landing Pages


You’ve done great ads, drove traffic to your website but where do these visitors land? Your usual main site? Not a smart idea.

As Max Robinson, owner of FishTankBank stresses out, “ensure that your website makes it clear about the deals”.

Landing Pages (as otherwise known) are the best way to convert traffic into leads. It’s where you will send all your traffic that comes from social media ads, search engine marketing, or email newsletters.

A well-structured landing page that repeats the advertised offer will work as a reminder to your visitors and help you look consistent and trustworthy.

Successful retailers usually take advantage of this to offer a discount or membership in exchange for the customers’ email address. That way they can ensure they have a means to communicate with visitors, even if they didn’t end up making a purchase that day.

“If possible, create a banner that appears at the top of product pages, and maybe even do something fun like creating a new version of your logo”, continues Max. “Just try to make sure that the design changes you make don't interfere with the user experience on your site.”

Pro tip: Return policy and shipping schedule are two things that customers regularly check before they make a purchase (who wants to end up with a bad Christmas gift?) – so make sure that they are clearly laid out and can be easily found by your visitors.




Don’t wait until the last moment


Big retailers have dedicated marketing teams that handle promotions and they will probably have insane discounts that you can’t beat. Fear not though, there is still hope for you to take a share.

“Get in first before everyone else”, advises Adam Watson, marketing director from Hollywood Mirrors. “People waiting for Cyber Monday only have so much disposable income for presents; if you have a chance of beating your competition, take it and start early”.

Cyber Monday purchases are often intended for Christmas presents. Those presents (especially for close relationships) have high sentimental value, which also makes them very difficult to pick. People are often willing to pay a higher price for a more unique present, so getting their attention first might be a win-win scenario for both you and your satisfied customers.


Success on Cyber Monday is all about timing.


Share the right message


If you know a thing or two about marketing, you surely know how crucial (and difficult) it is to reach your leads and customers with the right message at the right time.

If you have set up any type of analytics throughout the year, now is their time to shine.

“The data from those is crucial on Cyber Monday”, says Jordan Harling, Head of Marketing at Roman Blinds Direct. “By looking to see when open-rates and conversions are at their highest you can craft a Cyber Monday email that’s guaranteed to create sales. Your users are already primed to purchase, all you need to do is give them a little nudge at the right time”.

Pro Tip: The average e-mail volume sent by brands saw a huge increase, with its peak being Thanksgiving Day. Start sending your newsletters before your customers’ inbox looks like a spam folder.


Prepare your team


There is so much pressure to beat the competition in offering better offers that other important aspects are often neglected.

One is how to address mishaps.

The period around Black Friday and Cyber Monday are generally extremely stressful for business owners and employees and the high traffic and demand often comes with unexpected issues.

“Preparing your team is just as important as readying the website and inventory and is crucial to a smooth holiday season”, warns Bart Mroz, co-founder and CEO of digital commerce consultancy SUMO Heavy. “It’s essential to have plenty of training sessions for your team members to make sure everyone is on the same page”.

Pro Tip: In times of panic, seminars and lessons are quickly forgotten, so having some tips or guidelines in list form in clear view for everyone, can be a lifesaver.



Offer Top Customer Service


More visitors, especially if they are not returning customers, means more questions. Especially if the terms of your promotions are not clearly laid out, your support inbox or your telephone line will see a rise in traffic.

Having a representative available to answer any emails, Facebook messages, and tweets concerning offers and discounts is crucial to provide a happy shopping experience.

“The best way is to hire part-time chat agents and create a shift plan with more agents at peak times”, advises us Danyal Effendi from PureVPN. “Try to provide 24/7 customer service with major focus on target markets.”

Pro tip: If your budget allows it, consider hiring a virtual assistant. That way, when you and your team members are sleeping, there will be someone from the other side of the globe, ready to answer customers’ questions.


Discount selected products


The good thing about Cyber Monday is that it is not expected to have a flat discount on all products across your website (or physical store). In fact, offering a discount on certain products can work as a great lure to see an overall increase in sales.

“Focus on specific product discounts, rather than large store wide discounting”, Adam Pearce, Co-founder and Marketing Director of Blend Commerce, advises his clients. “Running one or two products as a loss leader can help to drive traffic to your store. By grabbing this traffic, you can then upsell at checkout with lesser discounted products and drive up the profitability per customer”.

Pro Tip: Make sure to accompany the discounted products with the right keywords, to make the most out of your search engine marketing efforts.




Clear the inventory


Cyber Monday can be a great opportunity to re-evaluate your stock and clear inventory from products that move too slow (or not at all).

“I like to offer sales on older inventory that's been hard to move in the past”, shares his experience Robert Ellis from Massage Tables Now. “Offering these sales on older inventory helps me clear out my stock and get a head start on my ordering while offering something of real value to my customers.

When Cyber Monday arrives, Christmas will be just around the corner and we all know that during that time every inch of space matters. Having around out-fashioned, obsolete or unpopular products might give your store an outdated look.

At the same time, researchers also back up what you may have noticed from experience: too many choices might be debilitating for the customer, resulting in fewer purchases.

Pro tip: Use an inventory management system to make this process a piece of cake. With Megaventory you can create intuitive reports and easily push slow-moving products for sale.


Last but not least


Following some of the above tips will have a positive effect on the success of your Cyber Monday offers.

You should not forget, though, that your main goal from that day should be to create the base for ongoing relationships with new visitors and strengthen those with your older customers.

So, how will you make the most out of this year’s Cyber Monday? Share in the comments below or tweet us

And if you like those tips, don’t forget to share this with your friends and colleagues.