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Archive for February, 2014

Mobile Commerce: Keeping up with Fast-Paced Purchasing Decisions

February 25th, 2014 Brianne Schaer No comments

My smart phone is my day-time security blanket, helping me stay connected with social media, the latest news headlines, and can’t miss shopping deals. My place in the millennial generation is definitely reflected in my shopping and lifestyle habits, but I am not alone.

A recent study published by InMobi, a global advertising company, states 68 percent of consumers surveyed have made purchases on a mobile device; this is expected to increase significantly in the next twelve months, as 83 percent of consumers stated they plan to conduct mobile commerce during this time frame.

This increase is mainly due to familiarity and trust. Most consumers now view mobile commerce as a viable method of shopping, and why shouldn’t they? I’d much rather click a few buttons on my smart phone than trek to the nearest brick-and-mortar store in the hopes that exactly what I want is in stock (more often than not, it isn’t).

Mobile phones not only provide the convenience of shopping from virtually anywhere, they also provide special offers and sales from retailers

Mobile phones not only provide the convenience of shopping from virtually anywhere, they also provide special offers and sales from retailers.

Mobile commerce efforts can be hit or miss depending on variables that are sometimes out of the retailer’s scope, such as each shopper’s phone capabilities. Still, it is unarguable that those retail giants who invested heavily in mobile shopping, like Amazon and Ebay, saw significant increases in mobile commerce revenue.

With more investments pouring in to mobile commerce, it is no surprise that various updates and new ideas are changing the way people shop from their phones. It is crucial to maintain a sense of security and usability with smartphone shopping modifications and apps.

As is the very nature of smart phones, convenience is a vital aspect of mobile shopping. If a consumer cannot quickly search, browse, and, most importantly, purchase an item on a mobile device, he or she will easily give up, or worse, head to va competitor site that can provide a more user-friendly mobile experience.

Offering search options like  Keyword or Item# makes searching simple for busy mobile phone users

Offering search options like Keyword or Item# makes searching simple for busy mobile phone users. A ‘sort by’ tab also helps narrow down items into categories such as ‘best sellers’ or ‘most popular.’

Ushering users through the checkout process is extremely important in mobile commerce due to the high likelihood that something will come up to distract the buyer. One option for optimizing the checkout process is to require customers to sign into their account before beginning shopping. This way, all they need to do is click a few buttons to confirm the sale and their purchase can be charged to the credit card on file. Another way to utilize pre-stored charging information is to offer PayPal Express or Checkout by Amazon, so customers do not need to hassle with entering long credit card numbers on touch screen keypads.

Mobile commerce can also be a place for experimentation or offering interactive opportunities for your customers. For example, Amazon offers bar code scanning, voice search, and automatic fill-in on typed searches. These fun options make it easier for the consumer to find a suitable product for purchase.

Alas, we must not forget about the large variety of screen sizes among smart phone and tablet brands. This challenge must be dealt with by developing a design that will respond to a range of screen sizes.

Personalization can also be used to the retailer’s advantage to incentivize shopping on mobile devices. A well-placed, relevant email promotion can easily lure potential shoppers checking their email on a phone to snag too-good-to-be-true flash sales before it is too late.

As long as a mobile commerce site mirrors the other fast-paced capabilities of smart phones and tablets, more people will utilize mobile shopping opportunities and drive up sales volume. For more information about mobile commerce techniques and software, check out Ignify’s eCommerce solution or please email us at ecommerce@ignify.com.

Brianne Schaer is an Assistant Copywriter at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRM, eCommerce, ERP, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify has won the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the year Award in 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 7 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.

Five Steps to Easier Site Usability for Online Shoppers

February 20th, 2014 Brianne Schaer No comments

Much like it can be difficult for a traveler to navigate a new land without a map, an online shopper may never find what he or she is looking for when dealing with a cluttered, complicated web design. Online shoppers are ready and willing to spend their dollars at your online sales channel, but if it is too difficult or tedious to do so, they will quickly and easily take their business to another outlet. After all, the next store front is just a click away, no need to factor in transportation costs.

There are a number of reasons a potential customer may decide to shop at a competitor’s store, from better pricing to ease of website use. Let’s focus on the latter with a list of five ways to improve your online sales channel to make it more user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Offer Promotions

Nothing will tempt online shoppers to make purchases more than an offer to spend less. A cleverly placed promotion could increase your sales numbers while helping your customer find the item he or she is looking for. For example, grouping similar items together under a “20% off” or “clearance” tab will make purchasing easier for the thrifty shopper by pinpointing discounted items. A hover ad may also help drive particular shoppers to items of similar interest to either another item or a promotion detail they are viewing. 

Offer Promotions

Advertising promotions allows customers to easily see which items are in their price range and tempt shoppers to purchase based on their total savings.

Easy Navigation and Clean Design

Without a fresh, clean design layout and a solid navigation, consumers will never find what they are looking for; or worse, they will find it at a competitor’s store. The website’s toolbar should provide relevant tabs to help the shopper find items quickly and efficiently. Each tab should also have an organized list of drop-down items to further narrow down the items on each page. A powerful search bar is also a necessity to view items that fall under specific parameters, such as color, size, or brand.

Establish Customer Loyalty

By offering customers a chance to sign up for a mailing list or rewards club, there is a greater chance they will make future purchases due to increased exposure to particular products. Items may be targeted to each customer’s preferences to allow only items of interest to make it in to each individual’s inbox. Once the need to sift through an abundance of options listed on the website’s home page is eliminated, your customer needs only to click on the item he or she wants to purchase and complete the checkout process.

Simplify Order Process

Once a customer has zeroed-in on an item for purchase, it should be simple to learn the specifications and details for said product. Online consumers do not have time to search for product details or customer reviews. All of this should be readily available and true to the actual product. Not only will this make it easier for consumers to navigate your website, it will also greatly reduce returns and exchanges. Zoom in capabilities offer consumers a chance to view details that may be hard to see in a small picture on a computer screen. Likewise, customer reviews are a great way to allow happy customers to promote the product.

Simplify Order Process

Offering zoom views of each product listed not only helps the shopper gain a better idea of what the product on order is, but it also greatly minimizes returns due to a product not meeting its description.

Once the decision to buy has been made, the checkout process should be as painless as possible. There should never be an excess amount of information requested, no surprise sales and shipping costs, or too many clicks before reaching the final checkout. Let’s not have our precious sale sit in an abandoned shopping cart!

Faster Load Times and Improved Mobile Site

Today’s busy shopper never has time to waste waiting for a website to load or trying to navigate a website that does not have mobile device capabilities. Improving website load times can be as simple as scaling or compressing images or minimizing html usage. The mobile site should load equally as fast as the main website, and should be fully compatible with all of its features. If a customer has an item in his or her shopping cart from shopping on a desktop or laptop, it should appear on their mobile phone as well to allow a speedy and simple checkout. It is also a good idea to link to social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and to offer promotions or product features on these networks.

Faster Load Times and Improved Mobile Site

A mobile store that is optimized for use on mobile devices is a necessity that allows shoppers to make purchases on-the-go.

Usability and design are top priorities for online sales channels to increase sales and allow consumers to search and browse content easily. Ignify eCommerce provides solutions to improve eCommerce capabilities like mobile site development, search engine optimization, and performance reports. There is always room for improvement to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction is met by your online sales channel, whether the focus is on mobile devices, social media, or standard web mediums.

If you would like more information on how to improve your online sales channel, please email us at ecommerce@ignify.com.

Brianne Schaer is an Assistant Copywriter at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRMeCommerce and ERP, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify has won the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 7 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.

How to Prevent and Convert Abandoned Shopping Carts

February 6th, 2014 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

The dreaded abandoned shopping cart: an unfortunate but unavoidable part of any merchant’s eCommerce strategy. Why didn’t the customer go through with buying your awesome products? He had them all ready-to-go in his shopping cart. He was just a click of a button away from making them his. But he didn’t commit – why?

We don’t always know the motivations behind every customer’s decision, but there are ways that we can help nudge them toward the checkout goal. And there are ways to get abandoned cart shoppers to come back and complete their purchases too.

1. Offer Wish Lists

The nice thing about an online shopping cart is that it stores all the things a customer likes in one neat, tidy place.

But, counterintuitive though it may sound, the ability to see items in a nicely-organized list can also prevent shoppers from pulling the purchasing trigger, with customers preferring to use the shopping cart as a holding container to remind themselves of which items they like and eventually want to purchase (but to not necessarily purchase today).

Instead of having web store customers use the shopping cart as their holding container, offer them the ability to set up their own personal wish list account.

With a wish list account, customers can keep a running library of all their desired merchandise without the pressure to buy – as the account title says, it’s just a “wish list”; it’s not a “buy right now list”.

But the wish list in itself is persuasive in getting customers to keep coming back, because it tempts them to review which items are currently there, and also what new items are available to add. And if they see something they want enough times, it also tempts them to purchase (that’s why it’s important to include the option to purchase items in a wish list too!)

So with a wish list and shopping cart separate, the customer sees both as having different purposes: the wish list for browsing, the shopping cart for purchasing – and then use them as such.

Allowing customers the ability to create wish list accounts not only helps them store and organize the items they like in one place, but it also indirectly pushes them toward purchasing as well

Allowing customers the ability to create wish list accounts not only helps them store and organize the items they like in one place, but it also indirectly pushes them toward purchasing as well.  

2. Don’t Spring Surprise Costs on Customers  

Shoppers want to feel completely in control of the purchase process, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be – after all, it is their hard-earned money they’re spending.

So when customers pause in browsing your store to view the items in their shopping cart, they should see the complete cost of their potential purchase – including any sales tax or shipping fees.

By showing shoppers the true total cost of their purchases, you create valuable trust with your customers – people don’t buy from places they don’t trust.

Showing the total cost also mentally prepares the shopper for payment. If a person knows what she has to pay, and if she feels the items are worth the price, there’s a far greater chance of her completing the checkout than if she were to get to the end and find an extra $50 tacked on for shipping and sales tax without knowing.

By showing customers the total cost of the items in their shopping cart, including any sales tax or shipping fees, you give them visibility and control over their purchase

By showing customers the total cost of the items in their shopping cart, including any sales tax or shipping fees, you give them visibility and control over their purchase

By showing customers the total cost of the items in their shopping cart, including any sales tax or shipping fees, you give them visibility and control over their purchase.

3. Streamlining the Checkout Process

Bottom line: the easier that you make it for people to checkout, then the quicker they will. If you add a lot of forms for them to fill out, or make the checkout process multi-step, it will scare people away from clicking the final button.

Because remember – today’s connected shoppers are focused on checkout speed and convenience.  And if you can’t provide this for them, they have no problem turning to your competitors (who are also just a click of a smartphone button away). So make sure to keep the checkout process smooth and painless.

Now, what should be done if you have an easy checkout process; you show the customer the true, total cost of their order; and you offer a separate wish list for them to put items that they’re browsing, and they still don’t choose to checkout?

4. Send a Follow-up Email

Perhaps the customer was interrupted while they were shopping, and he or she wasn’t able to complete the order. And maybe they forgot that they still have a shopping cart ready-to-go with items to checkout. A follow-up email serves as a friendly reminder for them to come back and complete the order.

Even if the shopper wasn’t interrupted and intentionally left their shopping cart, a follow-up email brings their attention back to the things they wanted, and nudges them to purchase. A shopper wouldn’t have put those items in a shopping cart if they didn’t want them in the first place, so an email follow-up is a helpful reminder.

But make sure to send out a follow-up email within 24-48 hours of the abandoned cart because the day’s shopping is still fresh in the shopper’s mind. And if the shopping is still fresh, then the intention to purchase is still fresh too. 

5. Include a Discount in the Follow-Up Email

Everyone likes a good deal, and everyone likes a discount. If you’ve already sent a follow-up email, wait a couple more days and then send out another follow-up email, but this time with a discount off the purchase.

Even if it’s as low as 5% off the shopping cart total, seeing a discount is a powerful psychological motivator for the abandoned cart customer, because 1) the shopping cart contains items the shopper wants (again, they wouldn’t have put them there if they didn’t), and 2) seeing that they could get a discount helps them justify the action of purchasing, which makes them go through with it.

In Conclusion – Provide Customers a Great Shopping Experience

While there is no surefire, 100% guaranteed abandoned cart prevention technique, the one way in which to get shoppers to purchase from you is to make shopping at your online store enjoyable. The easier, quicker, and more fun it is to shop and purchase, the sooner customers will come back.

If you would like to learn more about how to optimize the shopping experience of your eCommerce channel, please email us at ecommerce@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRMeCommerce and ERP, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify has won the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 7 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.

Loyalty Management with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

February 3rd, 2014 Chelsea Robertson No comments

Today’s consumers expect to be incentivized to choose your merchandise over that of your numerous competitors, and loyalty programs are one of the best ways to do that. Ignify’s Loyalty Management Solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps you meet the changing demands of your customers.  

By ‘gamifying’ the shopping process, you give your customers additional reasons to buy. For example, a few reasons why a customer may choose to shop with you as a result of loyalty management could be:

  • The ability to redeem points earned from loyalty programs toward purchases.
  • Enabling loyalty program members to receive rewards of discounts or free items.
  • The ability to reach the next loyalty threshold.
  • Taking advantage of special rewards program promotions (i.e., double points given on a customer’s birthday, etc.). 
  • Keeping rewards points from expiring so that a customer can redeem them at whatever time they choose.

By combining a loyalty management solution with Microsoft Dynamic CRM’s powerful reporting engine, you can view useful reports and analyze your loyalty programs effectiveness.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s dashboard functionality provides an array of important reports right at a user’s fingertips, providing powerful insight into loyalty program performance

Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s dashboard functionality provides an array of important reports right at a user’s fingertips, providing powerful insight into loyalty program performance.

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, one of the primary benefits is a full view of customer data. By managing your loyalty program with Microsoft Dynamics CRM as well, you can also view all of that information- right on the client’s contact record!

The Loyalty Management Solution allows businesses to better understand their customers and strengthen the customer relationship. The solution is tailored for businesses across industries, giving organizations the ability to make their loyalty programs part of their entire marketing strategy, focus and build relationships with their customer base, and provide opportunities and outlets for brand advocacy.

The Loyalty Program provides functionality that will help marketers manage data and turn into useful marketing analytics and create help them develop broad programs that will make customers feel more connected, enthusiastic, and dedicated to their products and services.

Customer Profile Analytics and Reports

  • Track average order size by award tier
  • Track average spend by award tier
  • Advanced customer profile – category/item preferences for tailored marketing activities

Customer Award Management

  • Setup of award rules
  • Set up points per dollar spent
  • Set up points per dollar per item
  • Manage Award Tiers
  • Manage points per dollar by Award Tier

Award Management Rules for Customer Rewards

  • Automatically award points with every sale/transaction from various channels including web, POS, In-store, Phone orders
  • Record redemptions and automatically update point balance

Promotions Management

  • Define promotions for the loyalty program
  • Define ranges for dollar spending limits, quantities, start and end dates.
  • Define channels (web, store, catalog, etc.) that will participate in promotion
  • Define discount rules and how they will be applied
  • Apply discounts to orders

If you would like more information on Ignify’s Loyalty Management Solution, please email us at loyalty@ignify.com.

Chelsea Robertson is a Sales Coordinator and CRM Pre-Sales Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRMeCommerce and ERP, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify has won the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 7 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.