Bullying for Conversions is Seriously Wrong.
Believe it or not, but there are some websites out there that will effectively attempt to bully their users into doing whatever it is that they want. The drive to beat the competition and get that all important conversion will always lead to some companies, or individuals, being willing to do anything that they believe that they can get away with to get to that desired end result.
However, when you look at some of these approaches in more detail, what you see is that it basically equates to online bullying.
One of the main approaches that is used is what is known as manipulinks, and the name is pretty descriptive. This is where websites attempt to make the user feel bad about something so they are hit by this guilty feeling and are then compelled to take a different course of action. As you can imagine, this can be rather effective and will undoubtedly work with a percentage of people, but you must agree that it is hardly fair and should never sit well on your shoulders.
To give you a good example of what we mean, think about those screens that pop up out of nowhere when you are attempting to leave a website. With that pop up, you will now see a line that says something such as ‘no I don’t want a great deal’ whereas before it would just say something along the lines of ‘exit’ or ‘leave’.
That is a blatant attempt to manipulate people via design, and you can already see why some people would then feel tempted to enter their email, sign up to a newsletter, or even go through with a purchase that they were thinking about leaving behind.
The pop up is hardly new. Actually, it has been pushing conversions since pretty much the origins of the Internet but adding in these new lines of text is certainly something that is relatively recent in origin. They have always been a source of irritation for individuals, but it could be argued that this irritation has just been taken to a new level.
But then, you may be wondering why people don’t just click away and pass it off as an annoyance. Well, it comes down to the marketing component as there is a tendency to make sure that the message hits home hard. There are even examples where it makes the person feel as if they are saying that they don’t want to help some cause, or don’t want to save money. It goes against what the person actually feels or thinks, so it the triggers a different reaction or it will simply not sit well with them.
So, who is to blame for the rise in the usage of these links that seek to merely manipulate individuals? Well, even though some will blame web designers, the blame lies at the hands of those that focus more on marketing. The origins can even angle towards those websites that push the hard sell where conversions, and not much else, are all that matters.
Playing with emotions is hardly new in marketing, but this is certainly an aggressive slant that should be tackled or who knows where it is all going to end up? What starts with a pop up can easily evolve into more aggressive text on websites, bullying style videos and images that attack the senses and the morals of the people that visit the websites. You can even see e-commerce websites using something similar when people abandon their shopping cart, and that is a line that just should not be crossed. If your marketing message is not able to convert people using normal means, then there is an issue with your marketing and nothing else.
If you operate in a tough environment, then choose the moral high ground with all of this, and look at ways in which you can use current marketing and design approaches to get people to do what you want them to do. There are a multitude of clever tricks and tips that can achieve this without you going down a path that just feels awkward and unsettling to so many people. Create a better marketing and design plan, and don’t be afraid to change things around if you aren’t getting the kind of results that you were hoping for. This is better than smashing the emotions of people and at least you will be able to sleep more easily at night.
If you have an e-commerce website, or are planning to have one, then you are going to need to turn your attention towards a payment gateway. However, the problem is that there are so many to choose from, so making the correct selection may not be as straightforward as you think.
This does then mean that you could be confused as to which company you should select and partner with for your website. After all, you want to be absolutely certain that everything is going to run in a smooth manner because, if it doesn’t, then you will have a whole host of other issues to contend with.
The Role of the Payment Gateway.
First, let’s look at the actual role of the payment gateway to provide you with a better understanding of what is going on.
People come to your website to hopefully purchase something. In order to do so, you need to provide a shopping cart and checkout which then leads them to a screen where they can enter their payment details. That is where the payment gateway is going to appear.
The payment gateway allows you to collect payment which is then sent to your bank account resulting in you having actual turnover and money in your account. It is the absolute basic requirement for your e-commerce website to be able to function or else you will just be unable to get any kind of money for your products.
Selecting Your Payment Gateway.
Selecting your payment gateway is not always as easy as you would think, and there is more to it than just having difficulty in choosing what to use from the plethora of options that are out there. Instead, you also have to look at the e-commerce software, or script, that you are using to run your store as not every gateway is going to be compatible for each script.
The good news is that the companies behind the actual e-commerce scripts will tell you which gateways can be linked up so that the entire process works in a seamless fashion. This alone will prevent you from getting a real headache when things just don’t want to link up in the manner that they should.
However, there is also more to it than just being aware as to which options are compatible. Instead, you must also think about the payment aspect as that too is going to play a role.
Different payment gateways are going to charge various transaction rates, and even the way in which they are calculated can differ. Some will charge a percentage. Some will charge a percentage plus a small fee, so looking around at the various options is advisable as it could save you a substantial amount of money.
Also, you have to think about when you will receive your money because not every payment gateway is going to supply you with your money in a short period of time. As you browse your options, you will notice that while some allow you to withdraw your money almost immediately, others will hold onto it for a period of time, sometimes over 30 days. From a financial and business point of view this is something that must be taken into consideration with your budget as you must be able to factor this into the equation before you launch or you will run into cashflow issues.
The main point we are making here is that you cannot just opt for the first payment gateway that you come across as there is no cast-iron guarantee that it is going to work in your favor. Compatibility, costs, times to withdraw cash are all key points that must be considered before moving forward. You need this part of your website to run as smoothly as possible because it will ultimately lead to people dumping their shopping cart and going to another website where they are not having the same issues.
Of course, you can make life so much easier for yourself by merely getting some professional help and advice from your web designer. They will not only advise you on the best gateway to suit your needs, but they can also make sure that it is connected in the correct and proper manner so everything runs as smoothly as possible from the outset.
E-commerce is hardly going to be going away, so it makes sense for anybody that is considering venturing into this particular world to have an idea as to some of the key things that can help you to swim rather than just sink. After all, there is so much competition out there that surely anything that can make even a modicum of difference is worth doing?
The mistake that people often make is they simply dive in with both feet without giving much thought about it. Clearly, this is the wrong thing to do and we would much rather that you give these tips some consideration first.
- Get Inspiration.
The first thing is to get inspired, and by this we mean look at e-commerce websites that you find to be appealing. It might be the way in which the products are displayed or the navigation. Perhaps it is the categories that appeal to you? No matter what it is, you need to spend some time contemplating what other people do with their e-commerce website and try to get inspiration from it for the sake of your own website.
- Consider Your E-Commerce Platform.
This is also more important than people realize in that you need to be sure that you use the correct e-commerce platform from the outset. By doing so, it should then mean that your entire website works smoothly and without any issues because that is going to be one huge thing that is capable of putting potential customers off spending money on your site. You also want to be sure that you are using something that is easy to update and change when required to do so as your prices may alter as will your products and you hardly want to rip the entire website out and start all over again every time this has to happen.
- Consider Your Payment Gateways.
You need to also spend some time thinking about payment gateways and being aware of the ones that work best for your website. Paypal tends to be the most popular out of the market leaders, but there are other options available. It can all depend on the e-commerce platform you plan on using along with the amount of business that you are conducting. Furthermore, you need to be aware of the currencies it can operate as well as making sure that you can actually get the money without running into too many problems.
- Don’t Launch Until You Have Tested the Website.
This might sound crazy to point out, but there are individuals that will try to put together their e-commerce website and then launch it in the hope of earning money as quickly as possible. The problem here is that they effectively do live testing, and that is pointless. Actually, it is even worse than pointless simply because if this kind of website is rushed, then it leads to broken links, issues with the cart, and a whole host of other things that will only serve the purpose of putting off potential customers.
- Stay Relevant.
Once again this may come across as being extremely basic advice, but it is astonishing how many companies allow their e-commerce website to just stay stuck in the past. It’s absolutely fine to keep the initial template the same, but ideas and concepts related to the world of design in this area are ever-changing. Being aware of the latest approaches can make a real difference to the way in which your website is viewed by your potential customers, and surely you want them to be as happy as possible? If displaying relatively few items on the front page is where it’s at right now, then maybe it’s a good idea to follow that concept? If large images displaying a few categories is the modern approach, then once again you may be better suited to adopt that particular strategy?
What we are saying here is that there are a whole host of things to take into account when it comes to operating your very own e-commerce website. There is so much more to it than simply adding some products to a program, getting some hosting, and then waiting for people to come. Would you do that with a physical store? Of course not, so why do it with this?
It is difficult to imagine this, but there are still some companies and individuals out there that have not bought into the concept of e-commerce. Now, they may very well have their reasons for this, but there can be little doubt that they are indeed the ones that will be missing out on a whole lot of business.
The e-commerce market is just not showing signs of slowing down. It even continued to grow while so many different industries were struggling for years due to the financial downturn. In truth, it made a number of people look at e-commerce as a potential way to increase their income. However, they failed to learn the appropriate language and approach to business leaving them scratching their heads as to how exactly they managed to fail.
But what if you are already involved in e-commerce? Are you satisfied with how things are going or would you prefer to understand the market better than you do at this moment in time? Well, we have a few important points that you may wish to dwell on for some time.
- People prefer technology to humans.
- Studies have shown that people prefer to interact with technology on an e-commerce website over and above dealing with a sales person. This may be surreal to many, but at least 55% of consumers say that this is what they prefer. It may very well be time for you to invest in an automation service as that is going to help really convert more potential browsers into individuals that spend money.
- People hate shipping costs.
- People have some different opinions when it comes shipping. While they are quite happy to go ahead and pay for express shipping, they do get put off if they discover that they are paying money for shipping that is going to take forever to get there. However, the best thing is when there is free shipping as that is always a winner in the eyes of most people. In all honesty, you should look at trying to include free shipping wherever possible simply because of the way in which it does attract more buyers.
- Detailed product information is absolutely key.
- It has once again been shown by researchers that consumers are more likely to go ahead and purchase products if the information that is supplied with the listing is detailed and able to really help them to build their understanding of what they are about to spend money on. If you thought that it would be just the one line or a brief note, then you would be wrong. With there being so much choice out there it just means that people are aware that they have options. You need to provide them with what they are looking for and if that means adding in more content with your listings, then you best get used to adding in more information.
- Buy online, pick up in store.
- If you have an actual retail outlet, then one area that is really increasing in popularity is the idea of people buying online and yet they then go ahead and pick up the item in the actual store. Of course, this is going to save you on delivery costs, but you do have to keep a close eye on your stock levels and deal with any order that you get online. If you have never thought about doing this up until now, then it is time to change because more and more offline stores are about to start doing this and it is best that you join them.
- Loyalty really does count.
- The final point that we are going to mention is the importance of loyalty. However, the problem with this part is that only 40% of companies selling online are actually taking into account the importance of keeping those customers happy. People do like to be loyal to companies, but they have to be rewarded for it as a direct result. If you have never thought about a loyalty scheme, then our advice is to look at how to go about setting up one and there are certainly a number of options available online if you get the correct type of help.
The one thing that you must always remember is that the world of e-commerce is continually evolving. If you are involved in it, then you need to make sure that you keep up to date with what is going on because it can make a huge difference between making that sale and the person abandoning their shopping cart. Do not automatically assume that you know it all. Look and learn from others and see what you can incorporate into your very own e-commerce business. Your profits depend on it.
Continuing the idea of what the next 12 months is going to entail for web design and
different aspects of Internet marketing, we are going to look at the kind of future that is predicted for e-commerce websites throughout 2017. This is clearly something that will be of interest to a number of people and we are not just talking about those that are looking at taking the leap into the e-commerce world. Instead, we are also thinking about those currently in the industry and who may wish to take advantage of the changes that are coming.
1. The Use of Chat Bots.
This is something that is really starting to appear and it is predicted that the use of chat bots is going to gain real momentum over the next 12 months. Basically, this means that a bot pops up on the screen and it becomes almost like a personal shopper for the visitor.
By interacting with the bot, it means that the customer is going to be in a better position to find the things that they are looking for and overall it will be making the entire shopping experience a bit more pleasant.
2. An Increase in Live Support.
This is different to the chat bot mentioned above as we are talking about an actual customer service representative rather than a bot. However, the idea is still the same in that the visitor is able to interact with someone from the website. This means they can deal with issues, orders, a whole host of things and that is why more websites are including software such as ZenDesk to make the entire process that bit easier.
This is something that can be easily implemented into your website and it is certainly one thing that you should give some serious consideration to. It has been shown in research that the average sale does increase as a direct result of this live support so the benefits of it do really outweigh the potential costs to you especially as it increases customer satisfaction.
3. Yet Another Increase in Mobile Usage.
Even though you will clearly be aware of the fact that mobile usage is always on the increase, it is known that there will be a huge push for it in 2017 with e-commerce. It is believed that the average person now goes to their smartphone more than 150 times a day and yet it is also understood that as little as 14% of e-commerce retailers are actually taking advantage of this.
With mobile usage, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of websites that allow forms to be filled in automatically or the use of mobile money wallets. These should be incorporated into your e-commerce website as early as possible as the push is really towards helping individuals to have a better all-round experience when it comes to shopping online via their smartphones.
4. Using a Prime Like Experience.
There is no doubt that Amazon really changed the game of shopping online when they introduced their Prime package. The fact that people get faster deliver and better customer service in general has led to a huge number of people signing up each month just to get these rewards.
However, the rest of the online world has been slightly slow in catching up with this and that is one area that is going to change in the forthcoming 12 months.
Expect websites to be looking at ways to speed up delivery times and also the returns procedure to be made a lot easier. This is especially true for apparel websites where the number of returns remains predictably high due to the fact that people need to try on the clothing before they know if they like it. If people are then of the opinion that returning items is easy, then they are more likely to complete purchases in the first place.
5. The Impact of Social Selling.
You know that social media has a huge impact on marketing and advertising, but there is going to be a real push towards social selling in 2017.
This is where websites are going to really link up with the likes of their Instagram page but where people are taken from the images they post directly to the items so they can buy them. Now, you might be sitting thinking that this has already been done, but so many companies have been lagging behind and just hope that people go from a profile to their website. This is what is changing and there are several services out there that will help such as Curalate and Soldsie.
The thing that you have to remember with e-commerce is that this is something that is worth a huge amount of money. The entire time there is a need to keep trying to simplify the sales process and making life so much easier for your visitors. Anything that can improve their shopping experience really should be welcomed with open arms throughout 2017.