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5 Popular Payment Gateways Customers Will Appreciate on Your Site

Do you need a payment gateway for your online business? Here’s a list of our top picks of 2022 with tips for how to choose the right one!

If you want to start selling online, you probably already know that a payment gateway is a must. Yet with so many options to choose from, how do you make sure you pick the right one for your business?

The right payment gateway can increase conversions by providing customers with a user-friendly and transparent experience. Once you understand what each option has to offer, you'll be well-placed to choose a platform that's suited to your goals and niche.

In this post, we'll explain what a payment gateway is and how to choose the right one. Then we'll explore our 5 top picks, including the pros, cons, and pricing of each.

Let's jump right in!

How to Choose the Right Payment Gateway for Your Online Store

A payment gateway is simply a platform for processing payments. It collects payment data from a customer (such as credit card details), then processes and approves the transaction.

If you want to accept payments through any method besides cash and checks, you'll need to work with at least one payment processor. Often, it's smart to provide your customers with multiple options:

Payment method options

The right payment gateway makes buying online secure, quick, and easy. However, what works for one online business might not be ideal for yours. So it's important to consider your needs and target market before making a decision.

When choosing a payment gateway to work with, you'll want to consider:

  • The payment types and currencies you want to support.
  • The cost of using the processor, based on the transaction volume you expect.
  • Integration options for your website's ecommerce platform, and any POS systems and other third-party tools you use.
  • Whether a payment processor has a strong reputation and positive reviews, as well as PCI and DSS compliance.
  • Customer support, so you can resolve any issues quickly.

As you might expect, there's no one platform that's perfect for every use case. It's important to do plenty of research and consider all of the available options before settling on your top choice(s).

5 Payment Gateways Your Customers Will Love

Now that you know what you're looking for, let's take a peek at 5 of the top payment gateways available for WordPress websites.

1. Stripe

Stripe homepage

Stripe is one of the most popular gateways thanks to its unique approach to payment processing. It provides a range of tools to customize the payment process, giving you full control over your payment pages to create an excellent shopping experience for your customers.

Pros:

  • Feature-rich payment gateway
  • Many integrations with third-party platforms
  • Extensive wallet payment and local payment support
  • Accepts over 135 currencies
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Particularly useful for European businesses, as the transaction fees are smaller

Cons:

  • Customer service isn't as prompt and reliable as it could be
  • No card machine for in-person payments, so it's not ideal for merchants who are also running physical stores

Price:

Setup fees: None

Monthly fees: None

Transaction fees: 2.9% + 30¢ per successful card charge

The simplest way to start accepting credit card payments via this gateway is with our own Buy Now Plus service. It's built on top of Stripe, and is beginner-friendly, free, and easy to get started with.

2. PayPal

PayPal homepage

PayPal is one of the easiest payment options to add to your site, and one of the most trustworthy because it's so well-known. PayPal claims that offering this option to customers can increase checkout conversions by up to 44%. It also has quick transfer rates, making it an ideal choice for online businesses.

Pros:

  • Simple to add as a payment option
  • Flexible option that supports credit and debit cards, mobile devices, QR codes, and contactless payments
  • Offers PayPal Credit, the option to spread payments out over time
  • Provides a consistent User Experience (UX)
  • Features predictable pricing

Cons:

  • Provides an off-site checkout experience that involves redirecting users to collect payments, rather than integrating into your website
  • Includes additional cross-border fees, so it may not be the best option if you rely on trade overseas
  • Accounts can be shut down immediately without any justification

Price:

Setup fees: None

Monthly fees: None (although the Premium version costs $30)

Transaction fees: Vary based on transaction type

3. Ayden

Ayden homepage

Next on our list, Ayden is a widely-known payment gateway used by Spotify, Uber, Microsoft, and eBay. It's a strong option if you prioritize security and compliance, and it has the added bonus of allowing you to learn about your consumer behavior patterns.

Pros:

  • Used by major companies, so it has a strong reputation
  • Accepts 250 payment methods and 150 global currencies
  • Features built-in tools to manage risks and track results
  • Relieves you of the burden of self-validation and compliance

Cons:

  • Not the best customer reviews
  • Limited features for brick-and-mortar businesses
  • Complex pricing structure, which is determined by payment method

Price:

Setup fees: None

Monthly fees: None

Transaction fees: Fixed processing fee of $0.12 + a fee determined by the payment method

4. Authorize.net

Authorize homepage

Owned by Visa, Authorize.net is one of the most established payment gateways available. It offers a range of options to suit your business, and works with almost any merchant account – and all over the world.

Pros:

  • Streamlines the payment process, making it a great choice for firms of all sizes, both online and brick-and-mortar
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Works with nearly any merchant account
  • Accepts more payment types than most of the alternatives, and is one of the very few gateways to accept PayPal

Cons:

  • Requires your business to be registered in the UK, Europe, US, Canada, or Australia
  • Charges a monthly fee, making it less ideal for smaller businesses or startups

Price:

Setup fees: None

Monthly fees: $25

Transaction fees: All-in-one option: 2.9% + $0.30. Payment Gateway Only option: 10 cents per transaction, 10 cents daily batch fee

5. Square

Square homepage

Last but not least, Square features an extremely versatile software that essentially transforms your customers' devices into portable POS terminals. It is a fast-growing payment gateway that centers around simplicity, making it perfect for smaller businesses and brick-and-mortar stores. It provides everything you'll need to accept payments and manage your business in one centralized system.

Pros:

  • A great option for merchants with physical stores as well as online businesses
  • Accepts all major credit cards and payment types (although not PayPal)
  • Extremely easy setup process, requiring users to download a free app and take payments using a mobile credit card reader that Square supplies free of change
  • Provides a smart, slick checkout UX
  • Allows you to sell easily on social media, integrating with Facebook and Instagram

Cons:

  • Has been known to withhold funds or accounts with little notice or justification
  • Limited customer support hours

Price:

Setup fees: None

Monthly fees: None (although Premium is $72)

Transaction fees: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction for online payments

Conclusion

A well-optimized ecommerce store, top-quality products, and excellent marketing can bring lots of customers your way. However, if you don't provide them with familiar and easy-to-use ways to pay, you risk losing them before they make those final conversions.

To sum up, here are 5 of the best options for your payment gateway:

  1. Stripe: A feature-rich option with many tools to offer.
  2. PayPal: A popular and reliable gateway that supports many payment methods.
  3. Ayden: A more advanced choice with excellent security features and analytics.
  4. Authorize: An easy-to-use and streamlined option that’s a good all-around choice.
  5. Square: A gateway that’s quick to get started with and very user-friendly.

Do you have any questions about payment gateways? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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How to Make Money Fast on Clickbank (No Website Required!)

If you're a content creator or a digital entrepreneur, there's a good chance that you've heard of ClickBank. While this platform is highly popular among affiliate circles, it's also an excellent place for vendors to launch products or services.

However, you might be wondering how to do that if you don't have a fully developed online store (or even a website).

Fortunately, you can solve this problem by listing your products using “buy now” buttons. This way, customers can go through the checkout process without needing to step foot in a virtual shop.

In this post, we'll provide you with an overview of the ClickBank marketplace. Then, we'll show you how to use the platform to promote your products and make money fast. Let's get to it!

An Overview of ClickBank

ClickBank is an online marketplace where vendors and content creators can find marketers to promote their products:

ClickBank homepage

The platform supports a classic affiliate marketing model. This means marketers earn commissions when customers make sales through their affiliate links. This setup creates a win-win situation for both affiliates and sellers.

It's also important to note that ClickBank is ideal for digital content creators hoping to earn passive income. That's because when you're selling a digital product, your return on investment (ROI) is much higher. In turn, you can offer a higher commission, and affiliates will be more eager to partner with you.

With ClickBank, affiliate marketers can instantly find your offers and promote them. You don't even need an official website for your products.

Moreover, ClickBank's algorithm rewards high-performing offers, boosting them to the top results pages in its internal search engine. As a result, with ClickBank, it's possible to make money fast.

How to Make Money Fast on ClickBank (No Website Required!)

Now that you know how ClickBank works, let's discuss how you can get started on the platform. If you follow these steps, you'll be able to generate a profit in no time!

Step 1: Identify Your Product

Before you consider getting set up with ClickBank, you'll want to ensure you have a product that can succeed on the platform. As we mentioned before, due to a high ROI, digital products are excellent options:

An example of a digital product sold on ClickBank.

Here are a few examples of digital items you could potentially offer on ClickBank:

  • Ebooks
  • Video tutorials
  • PDF guides
  • Electronic software and services

While digital goods are more likely to perform well, you shouldn't be discouraged if you run a small business dealing in physical goods. You can still promote these items on ClickBank.

However, you'll want to ensure your supply chain and processing systems are in place beforehand. You won't want to accidentally create a bottleneck if your product gains unexpected traction.

Step 2: Design Your Offer Page

After identifying an appropriate product, you'll need to create an offer page. You don't need a full-blown ecommerce website to make money on ClickBank. However, you will need to provide affiliates with a URL that leads to a page where they can buy your product.

In fact, ClickBank strongly encourages users to create a landing page before signing up. Luckily, there are plenty of free landing page builders that you can use.

Carrd is an excellent option for this purpose. It offers an intuitive interface and plenty of templates to help you get started:

Carrd landing page builder

Once you've chosen a landing page builder and a design, you'll want to fill in the details for your product. Be sure to add relevant images and a detailed description of the item you're selling.

Since this is the only page people will see, it's a good idea to take your time creating this content. You may even consider hiring a copywriter to help you develop the best-quality content.

Step 3: Create a Buy Now Button

Since you don't have a website with a payment processing system, the next step is to make a buy now button for your new landing page.

Fortunately, our Buy Now Plus tool enables you to sell your product in just about any digital space:

Buy Now Plus homepage

What's more, our buy now buttons enable customers to easily make purchases without needing to sign up for accounts. Therefore, Buy Now Plus can streamline the purchasing process.

You can get started with Buy Now Plus in minutes. All you'll need to do is enter some basic contact information and create an account with Stripe.

After that, you can create your first button. Then, simply copy its link and add it to your new offer page. Make sure to be strategic about where you place it. You may even want to add it in multiple locations.

Step 4: Sign Up for a ClickBank Account

Once your landing page is complete, you're finally ready to sign up for a ClickBank account. To get started, navigate to the ClickBank website and click on any of the Start Here buttons.

This will launch a start-up guide, which we recommend completing:

ClickBank start-up guide.

You'll need to choose a reason for signing up on the first screen. You'll most likely want to select I have a product I want to sell on ClickBank.

Next, you'll be asked about how far along you are in the process of creating your offer page:

ClickBank offer page description.

For this tutorial, we'll select I am still building the offer and getting ready to sell the product. With this setting, the site will provide useful advice and resources about the process. You can check them out and tweak your landing page if you like.

Then, proceed through the guide. You'll have to enter more information about your business and experience level.

When you get to step eight, you'll be asked about a product page URL. Just make sure to input the URL for your new landing page here:

ClickBank landing page URL.

The last step in the guide will be to enter your email address. After that, you'll be led to a page where you can complete the rest of the signup process.

Once you're all set up, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with the dashboard. You may even want to reference ClickBank's guide for getting started as a seller. This covers everything from HopLinks to creating a Thank You page.

Now all that's left to do is enter your product information into the ClickBank marketplace!

Conclusion

If you have a compelling product, ClickBank is a great place to start selling it. However, if you don't have a website yet, you may be worried about how to facilitate your sales. Fortunately, with buy now buttons, you can roll your sales and checkout page into one.

To review, here's how you can make money fast on ClickBank without an eCommerce site:

  1. Identify your product.
  2. Design your offer page.
  3. Create a buy now button using Buy Now Plus.
  4. Sign up for ClickBank.

Do you have any questions about using “buy now” buttons to sell your products on ClickBank? Ask us in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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4 Best Ecommerce Podcasts to Listen to in 2022

When you're starting an ecommerce business, it can be difficult to develop effective online marketing tactics. You may want to seek out expert advice, but that often comes with an expensive price tag.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ecommerce podcasts out there that are free and can serve as a valuable resource. These programs are hosted by industry experts who offer actionable advice on how to start your small business.

In this post, we'll discuss why ecommerce business podcasts are worth listening to. Then we'll suggest 4 shows that may help you improve your online store. Let's get started!

Why You Might Want to Listen to Ecommerce Podcasts

Over the past ten years, the popularity of podcasts has been steadily rising. These audio shows tend to be personal, portable, and engaging. Therefore, listening to them is now one of the easiest ways to learn about new topics.

Programs in the online business niche usually cover a wide variety of subjects, from online marketing to networking. Additionally, ecommerce podcasts tend to come in one of the following formats:

  • Interview: A recurring podcast host brings in different industry experts to ask them questions about their niche.
  • Conversational: Two or more hosts have an organic discussion about a specific topic that is related to business.
  • Educational: This may include one or more hosts who provide offer structured content that can be useful to the listener.

No matter the style, you'll likely benefit from tuning in to these programs. From discovering new industry trends to getting practical advice on how to grow your business, they are often gold mines of useful information.

What's more, there are currently lots of ecommerce podcasts available for you to stream. Regardless of your business' niche or your experience level, you're likely to find one that meets your needs.

4 Ecommerce Podcasts Every Business Owner Should Listen To

Now, let's cover 4 quality podcasts that cater specifically to online business owners such as yourself.

1. Honest Ecommerce

If you've received bad business advice, the Honest Ecommerce podcast might be for you. It aims to reveal truths about the ecommerce industry through its honest interviews between Chase Clymer and successful business leaders:

Honest ecommerce home page

Honest Ecommerce covers just about every topic, from creating long-term business plans to writing better emails. By listening to this podcast, you can gain actionable advice for running an online store, avoiding common mistakes, and reaching your sales goals.

Where to start: Are You a Store Owner or a Brand Owner?:

Honest ecommerce episode

In this episode, Clymer interviews Josh Firestone, who founded the clothing brand Bearbottom. They discuss Firestone's progression from being a party DJ to launching his own startup.

For beginner store owners who might be discouraged with their progress, they offer advice on staying passionate and patient.

Where to listen: You can find Honest Ecommerce on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher.

2. Built to Scale

On the Built to Scale podcast, hosts Darius Kunca and Justin Gecevicius explain how they went from broke university students to founders of AdKings Agency:

Built to Scale home page

Together, Kunca and Gecevicius have helped to scale many eight and nine-figure companies. Any business owner or ad specialist can benefit from their experience in developing successful marketing strategies.

By listening to Built to Scale, you can gain valuable insights on how to grow and scale a business. This program specializes in providing straightforward marketing methods and growth hacks that you can implement in your online store.

Where to start: Learn From Our Failures: Plan But Don't Overplan & How Simplification Is the Key:

Built to Scale episode

In this episode, the hosts give an example of a time when they overplanned a certain area of their business. They own up to this mistake and explain how you can plan more effectively.

Where to listen: Built to Scale is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

3. My Wife Quit Her Job

In My Wife Quit Her Job, host Steve Chou shares how he grew his online store to replace his wife's salary:

My Wife Quit Her Job home page

This podcast offers a series of interviews with successful entrepreneurs. My Wife Quit Her Job offers tips on how to achieve your financial goals, improve your sales, and leverage strategic marketing.

If you're a beginner business owner, this podcast may be for you. In many episodes, ecommerce experts talk about their failures and how they overcame them to reach their goals.

Where to start: Social Media Strategy For New Ecommerce Store Owners With Alex Rossman:

My Wife Quit Her Job episode

In this episode, Chou brings Alex Rossman onto the podcast to share his social media marketing tips. Rossman is the founder of Rossman Media, so he gives credible advice on how to improve your website's sales and organic traffic.

Where to listen: You can find My Wife Quit Her Job on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher.

4. eCommerceFuel

eCommerceFuel is one of the most popular business podcasts. The host, Andrew Youderian, created this program to build a community for ecommerce store owners:

Ecommerce fuel home page

By listening to eCommerceFuel, you can discover predictions about the ecommerce industry and learn from reports on major brands. You can also broaden your knowledge about business development and management from deep dives.

eCommerceFuel can be ideal for more experienced business owners. Although it has certain episodes dedicated to starting a store, most of its content focuses on more advanced techniques, such as outsourcing or sophisticated marketing.

Additionally, Youderian designed an ecommerce forum for vetted store owners who need helpful advice from their peers. There, you can build relationships, get quick replies to your business questions, or search the archives to access past discussions.

Where to start: How Beardbrand Left Amazon and Grew 58%:

Ecommerce fuel episode

In this episode, Youderian talks with Eric Bandholz about the big changes he made to Beardbrand in 2018. Although they discuss specific content strategies and practical business moves, the entire episode feels like a casual conversation.

Where to listen: eCommerceFuel is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts.

Conclusion

There's a steep learning curve for anyone trying to grow an online business, but tuning in to the top ecommerce podcasts can help. By listening to these free programs, you can gain valuable knowledge that may help you boost your bottom line.

To review, here are 4 of our favorite ecommerce podcasts you should consider listening to:

  1. Honest Ecommerce. This show advertises itself as a platform for sincere business advice. You can tune in to its interviews with business owners to gain realistic insights into your field.
  2. Built to Scale. On this podcast, the hosts chronicle their journey from being broke to founding an ecommerce growth agency. You can learn marketing tips and hacks for scaling your online business.
  3. My Wife Quit Her Job. This program is for those who are looking to grow their businesses as a substitute for salaried pay. The host offers advice on how to set and achieve your financial goals.
  4. eCommerceFuel. This podcast offers a community for more experienced entrepreneurs. By listening to its weekly episodes, you can learn how to form better business relationships.

What's your favorite ecommerce podcast? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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5 Cheap Marketing Strategies that Work (And How to Use Them)

To stand out in today's crowded online environment, it's important to take strategic measures to distinguish yourself from the competition. However, when you're an entrepreneur or own a small business just starting out, you likely won't have a huge budget and will look for cheap marketing strategies.

Fortunately, you don't necessarily need one. There are plenty of cheap marketing strategies that you can utilize to help spread brand awareness, increase engagement, and, ultimately, drive conversions.

In this post, we'll provide you with a list of five cheap marketing strategies that actually work. For each, we'll discuss what makes them beneficial and some tips for getting started. Let's jump in!

1. Encourage Customers to Leave You Reviews

One of the best ways to market your business is finding ways to help increase customer trust and loyalty. To do that, you need social proof. This is evidence you show consumers that your company is valuable and trustworthy.

Encouraging customers to leave you reviews can help other consumers form favorable impressions of your brand. Seeing real people leave positive feedback can make your business seem more credible and trustworthy.

Customer reviews are also forms of User-Generated Content (UGC). This type of content is organic and can be excellent for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes.

There are a handful of tools that make it easy for your customers to leave you reviews, too. For example, if you want them directly on your website, you can use a plugin such as WP Customer Reviews:

The WP Customer Reviews plugin.

If you have a physical company location, we also recommend signing up for Google My Business:

The Google My Business website.

This platform lets your customers leave you reviews directly on Google, translating to ratings on Google Maps. It can also be great for local SEO purposes and attracting consumers in your area.

2. Run Social Media Contests and/or Giveaways

Another cheap marketing strategy you can use is running a contest or giveaway on social media. This method is also another way to encourage UGC.

Giveaways are effective because you can run them for relatively cheap. For example, you can offer your own product, a coupon or discount, or a gift card. You could even partner with another brand to help cross-promote businesses.

The contest could be something as simple as a photo caption contest. In this scenario, you could ask users to create the funniest caption for one of your Instagram posts.

Alternatively, you could use the contest as an opportunity to generate leads by asking participants for their email addresses to enter the giveaway:

An example of a giveaway email form.

To get started, you could try using a plugin such as RafflePress:

The RafflePress website.

This tool makes creating and managing contests and giveaways incredibly straightforward. It comes with a drag-and-drop builder as well as pre-made templates to help you get started.

3. Create, Publish, and Share Valuable Content

Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising available. It lets you share your knowledge and expertise, which can help build credibility and authority. At the same time, marketing can boost engagement among your target audience.

Getting started with it is easy, too. You can begin by publishing blog posts on your website. This can also be a powerful way to boost your SEO rankings. Google tends to favor sites that regularly publish high-quality content.

To get started with a list of keywords and topics to target, you can use the Google Keyword Planner:

The Google Keyword Planner website.

With this free tool, you can start with a basic topic such as “web design”. Then you can find relevant keywords and phrases to include in your content.

Remember that, to be considered valuable, your content needs to be relevant to your audience. Therefore, it's wise to base your material around answering questions your customers already have.

In addition to your blog, you can also publish content across your social media channels. You can help reach a wider audience by using hashtags, tagging other businesses and partners, and consistently engaging with users in the comments.

4. Start an Email Marketing Newsletter

Email marketing is another cheap marketing strategy that you should consider incorporating into your arsenal. It is incredibly flexible and allows you to target new audiences and engage your existing customer base as well.

To make it as effective as possible, we recommend building your campaigns for specific customer personas. Doing this will make it easier to create highly targeted messaging that appeals to certain kinds of shoppers.

To help build your subscriber list, we also suggest including a signup form on your website:

An example of an email signup form.

To make a form, we recommend using an all-in-one email marketing solution such as Mailchimp:

The Mailchimp WordPress plugin.

This tool lets you create and manage all aspects of your email newsletters and campaigns in one place. It also comes with a WordPress plugin so you can seamlessly integrate your account with your website.

5. Conduct Surveys

Rounding off our list of cheap marketing strategies is conducting surveys. Asking your customers and audience for their feedback directly is one of the most inexpensive yet valuable tactics to improve your offerings.

Using surveys can provide you with relevant, essential data to use in future marketing campaigns. Furthermore, it can also make your customers feel heard and appreciated. It's an excellent way of letting them know that you care about their opinions.

Plus, creating and distributing surveys is incredibly cheap. For example, you can get started using a tool such as WPForms:

The WPForms plugin.

This is a freemium plugin that you can use to create contact forms and surveys. Then you can publish your content across the channels of your choosing, including your website, social media, and email platforms.

Conclusion

As a business owner, promoting your brand is a pivotal aspect of your success. However, you may be working with a tight budget. If that's the case, you might need to get a little creative with your marketing.

As we discussed in this article, there are five cheap marketing strategies you can use:

  1. Encourage users to leave you reviews.
  2. Run social media contests or giveaways.
  3. Create, publish, and share valuable content.
  4. Start an email marketing newsletter.
  5. Conduct surveys.

Do you have any questions about using these cheap marketing strategies? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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6 Best Days of the Year to Run eCommerce Promotions

After you established a strong brand and made your first online sale, you probably hoped that running an ecommerce store would feel like clockwork. However, in order to gain loyal customers, you’ll likely need to run frequent promotions.

Fortunately, you can use some key dates to guide you. Taking advantage of the most important ecommerce sales bonanzas, such as Mother's Day and Cyber Monday, is key. That way, you can create dynamic marketing campaigns for times of the year when people are already spending lots of money.

In this post, we’ll discuss why you may want to base your promotional calendar on some specific holidays. Then we’ll highlight the six best days of the year to run online sales. Let’s get started!

Why You May Want to Run eCommerce Promotions on Specific Holidays

While evergreen content and promotions are essential for any online business, holiday deals offer a unique opportunity. These limited-time offer sales will likely draw attention in a way that run-of-the-mill discounts cannot.

Holiday deals can be designed around vibrant color schemes or a particular seasonal product. This makes them more fun and interesting.

Furthermore, this sort of playful content is great for social media, such as on Instagram:

An instagram post image offers 50% for a holiday sale.

Even when they are less flashy, these campaigns still create a sense of urgency that can be hard to resist.

Additionally, holiday campaigns are ideal when you're hoping to create a comprehensive conversion funnel. This is especially true for your email marketing efforts. Through this channel, you can use targeted messaging to create hype around a holiday sale well before it arrives.

Furthermore, as your business grows, cyclical sales on specific days can signal to your audience that you're dependable. For all of these reasons, we recommend that every ecommerce business consult the most important holidays when creating a promotions strategy.

6 Best Days of the Year to Run Ecommerce Promotions

Now, let's go through some of the most lucrative holidays for ecommerce stores. To keep it simple, we're going to go through them in chronological order.

1. Mother's Day

In the United States, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. When polled, Americans anticipated spending a total of close to $30 billion on gifts for their moms.

After all, mature gifts typically have a higher price tag. Therefore, if you offer any sort of luxury goods or services, you won't want to miss out on this one.

If you're not sure how to approach Mother's Day sales, you can always offer a limited-time gift card:

Amazon's Mother's Day gift cards.

Amazon gives customers the option to send gift cards in sweet, themed boxes that feature flowers and hearts. You might want to experiment with a similar tactic. Also, keep in mind that this holiday falls just before the start of the summer season, so you may want to broaden it to offer site-wide sales.

2. Father's Day

Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. When it comes to dads, buyers anticipate spending about $20 billion collectively per year.

Additionally, this holiday is perfectly timed to coincide with any last-minute purchases your buyers need to make before their summer travels.

Once again, you can upsell your customers by offering irresistible, site-wide deals. Rapid flash sales seem to be particularly popular on Father's Day:

A Father's Day flash sale advertised on Instagram.

While we typically recommend that you give your customers ample time to take advantage of a deal, the occasional flash sale can make an impact. You may also want to use short and sweet discount codes that feature the word “dad”.

3. Back-to-School

Instead of one specific day, back-to-school promotions can encourage many weeks of increased revenue. We'd recommend offering these sales starting in mid-to-late August and running them through early September.

Since fast-growing children have a diverse set of needs, many ecommerce stores will be able to benefit from back-to-school sales:

A back-to-school sale advertised on Instagram.

If a youthful aesthetic is not ideal for your brand, you can always modify this theme to make it more seasonal. You could swap out your website's usual banners to feature your fall sales instead.

4. Black Friday

By now, the modern phenomenon of Black Friday is well-known. When Americans are resting at home, recovering from their Thanksgiving stupor – they shop.

They turn to their desktops (where purchases are most profitable) or their mobile devices to get a head start on their Christmas gifts. This makes it one of the most valuable days of the year for ecommerce businesses.

You can't go wrong with Black Friday sales. At this point, consumers expect them:

Macy's Black Friday sales.

In fact, you may even damage your image if you don't offer Black Friday deals. Since this is the most iconic flash sale of the year, we recommend alerting your customers well in advance about the terms of your promotions.

You can do this via email, on social media, and in your website's header. Additionally, you might want to reserve your boldest discounts for this day, since customers have come to expect more and more.

5. Cyber Monday

The term Cyber Monday was coined by the National Retail Foundation in 2005. It was meant to encourage buyers to shop online – and it succeeded.

Thanks to these efforts, the Monday after Thanksgiving now marks one of the most important online sales days of the year. Its continuing success proves that ecommerce has a bright future. This day has been so successful that it has now transformed into Cyber Week:

Cyberl deal days at Kohl's.

This provides the perfect opportunity to offer a wide variety of discounts. You can offer percentage-based site-wide sales, or promote free gifts to motivate your shoppers. If you have the resources, you'll likely want to re-brand your entire site so you can further maximize sales.

This might also be a good time to introduce new products or services, as it will help ensure that they make a splash. If you don't have the budget to go big for Cyber Week, you can also offer more modest deals, such as free shipping, content upgrades, or giveaways.

6. Boxing Day

Officially, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas. Its origins are rooted in charitable acts, but today it is often considered the ‘Black Friday of the UK'.

However, on December 26th, American shoppers may be just as likely to turn to their favorite online stores in search of ‘after Christmas deals':

A year-end flash sale advertised on Instagram.

This is likely because, similar to Thanksgiving, people are usually still on vacation. One unique benefit of this day is that you have plenty of flexibility when it comes to marketing it.

For example, you can use the term “after Christmas” or “end-of-the-year” to describe your sales. Since this will likely be the last promotion on the calendar, you may want to go big in terms of discounts.

Conclusion

If you’ve been searching for innovative ways to bring in new customers (and keep them coming back) regular promotions can be a perfect solution. However, it may seem daunting to generate original ideas for these temporary deals. That’s when you can lean on an ecommerce holiday calendar for help.

From Mother’s Day to Boxing Day, classic festivities offer great opportunities for profit. Modern ecommerce bonanzas such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide even more universal chances to boost your conversions.

For best results, don't forget to spread the word about your deals and make it easy for customers to join in using ‘buy now' buttons.

Do you have any suggestions for the best days to run ecommerce promotions? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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3 Warning Signs that Your Business is Failing

There are almost always warning signs that your business is failing. Online stores generally don't collapse from one day to the next. If you've been selling online for a while and your business is doing well, there'll likely be plenty of warning if things aren't going well.

Knowing what those warning signs are will enable you to take action before it's too late. As such, you can respond before your business is losing money or you barely have any customers left. You likely won't get to that point if you act decisively.

In this article, we'll discuss three warning signs that your business is failing. We'll talk about how to tackle each of these situations and their potential causes. Let's get to it!

1. Sales Keep Falling Month After Month

Almost anyone that runs an online store will tell you that sales vary depending on the time of the year. Most stores do the bulk of their sales during the Christmas holiday season. In turn, this increased revenue can make up for slower months throughout the year.

A single month with low sales can be just a blip on your radar. However, if you notice that sales keep dipping over time, you're probably looking at a much larger problem.

Some potential causes for sales numbers dropping can include:

  • Focusing on seasonal products. If your store focuses on seasonal products, it stands to reason they'll only sell well during that specific season. Outside of those weeks or months, you're probably looking at low sales across the board.
  • Your prices aren't in line with the competition. In some cases, prices can fall across an entire niche due to new, cheaper products entering the market. If you plan on having a higher price point, you need to justify it with higher product quality.
  • Your product quality is dropping. If your store's products leave consumers unhappy, bad reviews and a lack of return customers will quickly start to affect your sales numbers.
  • There's a problem with your online store. In many cases, low sales can stem from problems with your store, such as long loading times or an overall poor customer experience.

Significant dips in sales can be scary. However, if you pay attention to your store's metrics, you can easily spot when the downward trends begin. Then, you can use that information to figure out the problem (and turn it around).

If your store's sale numbers suddenly fall to zero, that usually points toward a technical issue with whatever ecommerce solution you're using. Having an ecommerce solution that enables you to set up simple, customizable checkout pages (such as Buy Now Plus) can prevent technical failures from happening:

A Buy Now Plus checkout screen

Using an ecommerce solution that you can quickly troubleshoot is essential to running a successful online store. That way, if you encounter technical issues, you'll be able to fix them quickly and not miss out on potential sales.

2. Bad Reviews Are Piling Up

Bad reviews can be catastrophic for an online store. A slew of negative feedback can be enough for sales to take a significant downturn, even if the comments themselves are inaccurate:

Multiple bad reviews can be warning signs that your business is failing.

Getting bad reviews is unavoidable if you run an online store for a long time. However, if you're treating customers correctly and offering outstanding products, negative feedback shouldn't outweigh positive comments.

If you run an ecommerce store, you'll need to track two different sets of reviews. Those are:

  1. On-site product reviews: These are the reviews that customers leave for specific products and services. Negative feedback should tell you which service areas your consumers find lacking.
  2. Reviews on third-party websites: Tracking these reviews can be hard unless your company profile is on platforms such as Google My Business or the Yelp website. However, regularly searching for your business' name should enable you to find out what customers are saying about you around the web.

Paying attention to negative feedback is essential because you can be confident that many potential customers will be reading it. A staggering 91% of consumers actively look for reviews before making a purchase. If they see a lot of negative comments, they may choose not to use your business.

If your reviews include ratings, we recommend that you start paying close attention if those numbers fall below 4.5/5 or the equivalent on a ten-point scale. It's essential that you look for repeating complaints in reviews so you can identify pain points with your services and solve them.

3. You Have No Repeat Customers

For many businesses, repeat customers are the ones that keep the ship afloat. Once you convince a consumer to make that first purchase, the chances that they'll make another one are as high as 60 to 70%. Moreover, retaining existing customers costs significantly less than attracting new ones and marketing to them.

If you've been running an online store for a while and you lack repeat business, that doesn't bode well for the future. In most cases, it means one of a few things:

  • You're not selling products or services that lend themselves to repeat purchases.
  • Customers are not satisfied with the quality that you offer.
  • Your customer service experience is lacking and users don't feel heard.
  • The purchasing or shipping experience is not user friendly.

Paying attention to customer testimonials and reviews should enable you to spot all of these issues well before your company goes bankrupt. Not having repeat business might not mean that your store will go under. Still, in a best-case scenario, it severely limits your growth potential.

Conclusion

There are almost always warning signs that a company might go under. Many store owners only pay attention to profits. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, you might miss obvious warning signs that your business is failing.

Some of the most common warning signs for a failing online business include:

  1. Sales keep falling month after month.
  2. Bad reviews are piling up.
  3. You have no repeat customers.

Do you have any questions about turning a failing business around? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook,Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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What You Need to Know Before Starting an Online Business

In a world currently driven by eCommerce, now is an excellent time for starting an online business. Learn what you need to know before getting started!

With the world increasingly becoming a digital-first environment, now is an excellent time to consider starting an online business. However, doing so is no easy task, and it's essential to make sure that you're adequately prepared.

Fortunately, doing a solid amount of research and planning can help ensure that your company succeeds. While errors and mistakes are inevitable, you can reduce your missteps and challenges by taking a strategic and careful approach.

In this post, we'll start by discussing the benefits of starting an online business. Then we'll cover five key tips to consider before you get started. Let's jump in!

The Benefits of Starting an Online Business

There are many benefits to starting an online business that can make it a rewarding and lucrative professional path.

Firstly, customers increasingly turn to the internet to find the products and services they need. You can purchase virtually anything you need online, from groceries and clothing to consulting and professional services:

The Amazon homepage.

Another benefit of an online business is reaching a global audience. You aren't limited to the geographical location of your establishment, nor do you have to deal with costs such as office space rental.

Furthermore, starting an online business can be pretty inexpensive once you have your product or service. You only need to account for a domain name, hosting, and web design and development costs. With the right small business tools, these aspects become easier to manage.

This isn't to say that starting an online business is easy. Certain disadvantages can come with it, such as a crowded online space that makes standing out from competitors difficult. Moreover, you'll need to understand digital marketing trends and techniques.

Fortunately, there are ways to prepare yourself to overcome such obstacles with relative ease. Proper research before launching your business can help increase the likelihood of success.

What You Need to Know Before Starting an Online Business (5 Key Tips)

Now that we've covered the benefits of starting an online business, it's time to dig into what you should know before you do. Here are five tips you can use to make it a productive and profitable endeavor!

1. Take the Time to Create a Detailed Business Plan

With any business, it's crucial to dedicate time to market research and developing a sound business plan. Doing so will help you identify concrete goals and determine how to measure your performance and progress as you grow.

There are a variety of elements that your business plan should cover, including:

  • Your target audience and customer personas
  • An executive summary and mission statement
  • A market analysis
  • Financial planning and a budget

You can make the process easier by using a business plan template:

A business plan template.

The more comprehensive and detailed your business plan, the easier it will be to get your company off the ground. Ideally, we recommend starting with a two to five-year plan.

2. Start With a Service Before Moving Onto Products

It usually makes sense for most online businesses to start by selling services, then eventually moving to products. Services tend to require less investment and development.

Once you get your footing, you'll be in a more stable position to expand and scale your business to incorporate products. This approach can also make it easier for you to find and nurture customer relationships to learn about your target buyers and their most important needs.

3. Invest in Website Design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When running an online business, your website is of utmost importance. It influences how customers perceive your brand. Your site also affects your engagement and conversion rates.

Therefore, a large portion of your focus should be on developing a high-quality website optimized for users and search engines. It's also a good idea to select a premium WordPress theme to showcase your products and services in a professional, reliable light.

There are plenty of free options available in the WordPress theme directory. You can also use marketplace sites such as Envato:

The Envato website.

However, even the most beautifully designed website won't help drive sales if customers cannot find it. This is why it's also essential to invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

It's important to make sure your content is correctly optimized for Google best practices and ranking signals. You can do this is by installing a plugin such All In One SEO (AIOSEO):

The AIOSEO WordPress plugin.

You can also use PageSpeed Insights to analyze your site and identify opportunities for improvement. Knowing which tools to use can go a long way in optimizing your website.

4. Focus on Optimizing the Customer Experience

You can't have a successful business without satisfied customers. Therefore, it's crucial to provide a positive User Experience (UX).

This process can include creating a seamless checkout process with plenty of payment gateway options. We also recommend minimizing the number of steps needed for customers to complete their purchases.

One of the best ways to do this is with buy now buttons:

An example of a buy it now button.

You can easily add one of these elements to your site using our Buy Now Plus plugin:

The Buy Now Plus website.

You can quickly design and create your own buy now buttons to use across various channels. Then your visitors can check out immediately, helping to increase revenue.

5. Social and Email Marketing Are Key

Social media and email marketing are powerful, cost-effective solutions for generating brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, and reaching your target audience. It's wise to develop a marketing strategy that incorporates both platforms.

We recommend figuring out which platforms your target audience uses most and focusing your campaigns there.

For example, Facebook Advertisements can be highly effective and affordable:

A DreamHost Facebook ad.

You can even sell directly from social media, whether you have a website or not. Regardless of your strategy, it's crucial to create a strong social media presence that is consistent with your branding.

Social media and email can also be incredibly effective for engaging your customers through targeted messaging. You might consider starting an email newsletter to help promote your brand, expand your reach, and drive traffic to your site.

An easy way to do this is to use a tool such as ActiveCampaign:

The ActiveCampaign logo.

This email and digital marketing platform can help you create and grow your subscriber list. You can also use it to collect leads, track email marketing analytics, and design custom customer experiences across every channel.

Conclusion

In this digital era, now is the perfect time to consider starting an online business. However, knowing where and how to begin can be difficult. Fortunately, all it takes is a little research and planning.

As we discussed in this post, here are five tips to consider before starting an online business:

  1. Spend time creating a detailed business plan.
  2. Start by offering services before moving onto products.
  3. Invest in your website design and SEO.
  4. Focus on optimizing the customer experience and checkout process.
  5. Social media and email marketing are key.

Do you have any questions about starting an online business? Let us know in the comments section below!

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4 Ways Small Ecommerce Businesses Can Use Big Data

The amount of data that business owners can use is constantly growing and becoming more complex. This can spell trouble for a business that isn’t equipped to manage or utilize the available information.

Fortunately, the potential benefits of big data far outweigh the negatives, and this is equally true for small ecommerce businesses. With adequate planning and clear objectives, you can leverage big data in multiple ways.

In this post, we’ll explore four ways to make big data work for you. These applications are goal-oriented, require little upfront investment, and deliver speedy returns. Let’s take a closer look!

An Introduction to Big Data (And Why It Matters)

In a nutshell, big data refers to large volumes of information. These are data sets so substantial and complex that they are unwieldy and difficult to manage with traditional methods.

Big data can be structured or unstructured. Structured data includes customer contact information, transaction histories, or anything that can fit neatly into a spreadsheet:

A balance report is an example of structured big data.

In contrast, unstructured data includes social media content, customer reviews, or anything without a predefined format. The latter can require more advanced storage techniques such as data lakes.

Both of these types of big data are important for small business owners because of the valuable insights they can provide. Learning more about your customers and their behaviors means you can offer better services and streamline your operations.

Since so much business happens in the digital world, big data affects small business owners just as much as giant corporations. Let's now see how your small ecommerce venture can utilize this information.

4 Ways Small Ecommerce Businesses Can Use Big Data

There are so many ways that small businesses can utilize big data, and it would be overwhelming to take all of them on. The applications we’ve listed here are starting points for improving customer retention, boosting sales, and making your processes more efficient.

To collect big data, we recommend using software such as AFS Analytics:

You can collect big data with AFS Analytics.

This powerful tool uses real-time monitoring and reporting to show you customer data related to engagement, conversions, buyer journeys, and more. We'll also explore some free data collection methods later in this article.

1. Improve Customer Service

Quality customer service is one of the most crucial elements of running any successful business. When customers feel taken care of, they’re more likely to recommend the business to others and become repeat buyers.

One of the major advantages of doing business in the digital age is that almost all consumer interactions can be turned into learning opportunities. Each time a customer makes contact, whether to ask a question, make a complaint, or leave a review, you can use the event to improve customer service.

You might utilize big data by monitoring response times across various communication channels. Customers have different wait time expectations for each platform.

For example, consumers using live chat will wait an average of 35 seconds for a response before leaving. By monitoring your communication delays across all channels, you can identify any weak spots.

2. Create Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are important tools for any business. They are fictional representations of your target audience.

These representations can contain superficial information such as ages, locations, genders, and job titles. They can also focus on more nuanced information like challenges, desires, and objections.

Customer personas can be useful for ecommerce businesses because they help with personalization and targeted marketing — the modern consumer has little patience for marketing that isn’t relevant.

A straightforward, free way to create buyer personas is to use Google Analytics. You can take a look at the location, gender, and interest data in the Demographics section to understand your ideal customers:

Demographics with Google Analytics.

To get the most of the demographic data available to you, you may have to tweak a few settings. However, there are some clear instructions that make the process easier.

3. Decrease Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment is one of the main reasons that ecommerce businesses lose sales. This Baymard Institute study showed an average abandonment rate of almost 70%. Therefore, improving the checkout experience could be very worthwhile for your company.

A major reason for cart abandonment is the various hurdles a customer must overcome to complete a purchase. Factors such as load times, pop-ups, finding the checkout button, or too many input fields to complete can create friction.

As such, reducing friction is one of the most effective ways to decrease cart abandonment and increase sales.

You can use big data to reduce friction in several ways, and you don’t need anything more powerful than Google Analytics. The platform has a Conversions and Shopping Behavior tab that displays this data:

Using big data to identify cart abandonment with Google Analytics.
Image source: SaleCycle

To identify friction in your sales process, investigate when customers leave your site. Look closely at which stage consumers abandon the buying process, and you can identify trends.

For example, if a consumer has added items to a cart, they may just be shopping on multiple sites simultaneously. If they’ve made it to the checkout page and then left, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

4. Personalize the Customer Experience

Personalization is key to doing business. Consumers even expect it, especially with ecommerce.

For example, a study found that 80% of consumers like to receive emails with product recommendations similar to previous purchases they’ve made:

Amazon product recommendations.

In addition to targeted marketing, you can personalize the customer experience by using a visitor's preferred currency and language. You can even use greetings for repeat buyers to encourage loyalty and win their business in the long term.

Using surveys is a great way to gather tons of relevant data about consumer preferences. You can then utilize this information to personalize their experiences.

Conclusion

Big data is powerful. Massive corporations and small businesses alike can use it to improve their operations and make better-informed decisions. However, this information can also be overwhelming without a clear plan of action.

Let’s take another quick look at how small businesses can take advantage of big data:

  1. Improve customer service to upgrade the buying experience and earn customer recommendations.
  2. Create buyer personas to better understand your customers and improve marketing.
  3. Decrease cart abandonment by identifying points of friction and improving your conversion rates.
  4. Personalize the customer experience to encourage consumer loyalty.

Do you have any questions about big data for small ecommerce businesses? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn!

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5 Things to Stop Doing Now if You Want to Succeed

Running a business is rarely easy. With so much to handle, it can be hard to build a comprehensive strategy. The pressure to make all the correct moves can be overwhelming.

Fortunately, it's not always about getting it right. Sometimes, knowing what you're doing wrong can be the key to success. By understanding where you can boost your performance, you can take your business to the next level.

In this article, we'll walk you through five things that hinder success. We'll also give you a few tips on how you can improve. Let's go!

1. Ignoring the Competition

Let's be honest: no matter how small your niche is, there will always be someone else you need to measure up to. You can't ignore how your competition is doing – no matter how confident you are in your product.

If you discount other companies, you could be losing out on a lot of valuable information. For example, let's say they run a wildly successful campaign. By taking note of what they did right, you can improve your business's performance too.

You can consider Williams Sonoma as an example of this. Since Thanksgiving is a food-centric holiday, many cooking sites are competing for shoppers' attention. However, while most of them just advertise sales, Williams Sonoma improves on that model with cooking tips as well:

An example of a Williams Sonoma ad that improves on the competition.

However, try to remember that this goes both ways. Other companies are probably watching your performance to improve on their own. By paying close attention to what others are doing, you can tune in to the most successful strategies for your niche.

2. Straying Away From Your Brand Identity

Your brand identity is a mix of many things: the tone of your ads, your logo, and even your font choice. Consistent presentation of these elements is crucial to a buyer's ability to recognize your company. Thus, while going in a new direction may be tempting, it can also harm your business.

This is largely because it may confuse your customers. For example, let's say your social media's tone of voice is playful while your blog is serious. This could be off-putting to new visitors, especially if they're already invested in the buyer's journey.

We're not saying that rebranding is a bad move. However, if you're shifting gears without a clear and intentional plan, you could risk losing potential buyers.

We recommend that you put together a style guide for your content. This may include guidance on what type of language you should use or topics you typically cover. That way, you can reference it before publishing anything and ensure that you're staying on track.

3. Focusing All Your Energy on One Channel

With so many ways to communicate in our modern world, it can be hard to keep up with all of them. Your own website, different social media pages, and traditional advertising can be a lot to handle. As such, it's not unusual to feel like you need to focus on a single channel.

Unfortunately, this isn't usually the best plan. Different platforms have different audiences. Thus, putting all of your efforts into one channel could mean you're missing out on opportunities to make more sales.

One way to combat this is with a content calendar. You don't necessarily need to update every account every day – as long as you're spreading your marketing across many channels, you're opening up new ways to reach new customers.

By the same token, you may also want to consider giving your users an easy way to purchase your products across different channels. If you're looking for a tool to help you do so, we recommend our own Buy Now Plus service:

The Buy Now Plus banner.

With Buy Now Plus, you can add buy now buttons almost anywhere – and you don't even need a website to do it. By providing visitors with a secure checkout regardless of how they find you, you can capture more conversions than ever before.

4. Resisting Investments Into Your Business

If you're like most business owners, chances are, you have a budget. This can be especially tight if you're still a relatively small company. However, as the old saying goes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

We're not saying that being mindful of your money is a bad thing. Nevertheless, doing so isn't just about saving cash – it's also about knowing where to spend it.

That's why we recommend you invest in resources that can support your business. If your shipping times are struggling, for example, you might want to think about hiring someone to help you out. By the same token, upgrading to a faster web host could dramatically improve the user experience.

If you're not sure which tools are right for you, we recommend that you take full advantage of free trials. That way, you can see how well a certain resource can support your business before you commit to it.

Finally, like most things in business, there's always a chance of failure. You may invest in a tool that doesn't work out for you – and that's okay! Just try to understand why it wasn't a good fit and keep that information in mind for your next investment.

5. Ignoring Your Analytics

Your company's success doesn't have to be a guessing game. Nowadays, analytics are available nearly everywhere, ranging from your social media profiles to your website. If you're ignoring this information, you could also be ignoring a clear path to improvement.

Even if you feel like you understand your performance, getting confirmation never hurts. Additionally, if you find out you're not doing as well as you thought, you can catch the issue early before it really starts affecting your sales.

An easy way to get started with this essential data is through Google Analytics:

A sample Google Analytics dashboard.

Google Analytics can provide you with a broad overview of your audience. You can also zone in on more specific metrics such as demographics, meaning you'll be able to get very specific with your targeted marketing.

If you're not interested in analytics, we highly recommend that you stay in touch with your customers. Ask for feedback and reviews whenever you can. That way, you can stay informed about how your brand is performing.

Conclusion

Success is rarely a straight path. However, that doesn't mean that you can't avoid a few wrong turns along the way. By understanding which actions can harm your performance, you can help your business succeed.

In this article, we covered five things that hinder success:

  1. Ignoring how your competition is performing.
  2. Having an inconsistent or muddled brand identity.
  3. Focusing your efforts on a single channel and ignoring the others.
  4. Being too wary of potentially rewarding investments.
  5. Ignoring the crucial data that analytics can provide.

Do you have any questions about the issues covered in this post? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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Understanding Chargeback Fraud (And How to Prevent It)

Credit cards and other similar payment methods are used for the majority of online transactions. While they're way more convenient and efficient than cash, they're also vulnerable to chargeback fraud.

As a business, chargeback fraud can cost you a lot of money.

Fortunately, there are a few measures you can take to protect yourself against fraudsters. The best thing is these measures are relatively simple to set up, so they’re an option for businesses of all sizes.

In this article, we’ll discuss what chargeback fraud is and how it can hurt your business. Then we'll look at some ways you can prevent it. Let’s get started!

What Chargeback Fraud Is (And How It Can Hurt Your Business)

Sometimes referred to as “friendly fraud”, Chargeback fraud is when a customer purchases a product or service with their own credit card, then issues a chargeback request with their credit card provider.

The customer receives a refund, and the business gets a fee.

In most cases, Friendly fraud is the result of legitimate shoppers forgetting they've made a purchase, hence the “friendly” part of the name. But there's nothing friendly about intentional chargebacks.

Some fraudsters see chargebacks as a way of making some easy cash at the expense of big banks. However, businesses can also be victims of this crime. Chargeback fees can cost businesses up to three times the original transaction value, adding to what is often an already long list of expenses.

Regardless of the intent, though, chargebacks can hurt your business big time.

According to an article by CNBC, friendly fraud is on the rise and will become an even bigger problem for businesses in the near future. Therefore, it's vital that you prepare to deal with it and implement some ways to avoid it.

How to Prevent Chargeback Fraud (3 Tips)

To help you reduce the frequency of friendly fraud within your business, we’ve put together three key ways to prevent it.

1. Remind Customers About Recurring Payments

Recurring payments occur when a customer gives a business permission to automatically charge them for a repeat purchase.

This is a common model for membership and subscription businesses because it saves both time and money. The customer only needs to make one order, and then transactions can be processed automatically whenever necessary.

It's common for customers to agree to recurring payments but forget about the agreement after a while. This can lead to them issuing chargeback requests.

One way to avoid this problem is by sending customers automated reminders about upcoming recurring payments. This can help them remember agreeing to the purchase when they see the charge to their credit card.

REMINDERS

2. Use Clear Transaction Descriptions

Transaction descriptions are what the customer sees on their credit card statement. It's important to make sure that these descriptions are clear so that the customer can easily recall making the purchase.

statement transactions
A transaction description from a statement.

First, let’s take a look at how not to write a transaction description. Avoid using long strings of digits like invoice references or order numbers. Not only do these types of descriptions look a bit suspicious, but they can also confuse the customer and make it very difficult to tell where the purchase came from.

Ideally, a good transaction description should include three pieces of information:

  1. Your business name. This can help the reader connect the description with your business.
  2. Your website or physical address. This can give the customer an idea of where they were when they bought the item.
  3. Your contact details. This can give the customer a way to follow up the charge.

However, most of the time you'll be limited to a small number of characters. Use them wisely.

When writing descriptions, think about what you would want to see as a consumer. If your current layout confuses you, it'll probably confuse the customer even more, so try to simplify it a bit.

3. Use Credit Card Verification

Credit card verification, also known as authentication, is the process a merchant takes to ensure that a purchase is being made by the card owner.

Verification is an effective way to reduce the chances of a buyer either putting the incorrect number in or using a stolen card. Both of these scenarios are likely to result in credit card companies receiving refund requests.

Fortunately, our Buy Now Plus service operates on top of Stripe, which is one of the largest and most secure online payment systems.

Stripe homepage

Stripe has a variety of security measures in place. This includes chargeback protection, verification checks, and other anti-fraud features.

With Buy Now Plus and Stripe, you can accept credit card payments from anywhere, whether you're selling on social media or through email marketing. You can also rest assured that your business is protected against fraud.

Conclusion

Chargeback fraud is a major problem for a lot of businesses. However, there are a few key measures you can take to protect yourself.

These practices are affordable and relatively simple, so you may find them fairly straightforward to implement.

In this article, we covered three ways to prevent friendly fraud:

  1. Remind customers about recurring payments. This can help prevent chargeback fraud, which occurs when a customer disputes a purchase because they forgot they agreed to it.
  2. Use clear transaction descriptions. By doing this, you help reduce the chances of a customer misunderstanding what they are buying.
  3. Implement credit card verification. This prevents users from using someone else’s credit card and can also assist you if you are faced with a hefty fee.

Do you have any questions about chargeback fraud? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Create a Perfect Sales Page (5 Key Tips)

A sales page operates as a one-page ad for your product or service. When someone visits this part of your website, they’re already thinking about buying from you – they just need a little push.

Your sales page must emphasize the benefits of your product, answer any misgivings the potential customer might have, and (above all) make it easier for them to commit. Fortunately, this isn’t hard to achieve with a few proven techniques.

In this post, we’ll go through five critical tips for building the perfect sales page. You’ll learn how to create a sales page, how to improve it, and how to get people to take the next step. Let’s get started!

Why It’s Vital to Fine-Tune Your Sales Page

Think about the last time you visited a sales page. It may have been for a piece of software, new technology, clothing, or even furniture. Did you decide to buy the product? Why or why not?

A sales page is important because it is the very end of a sales funnel. All of your marketing efforts are often focused on bringing leads to this key page. Once there, you’ll need to encourage them to take that final step and make a purchase.

An example of a sales page.

While a sales page may often look simple, there’s an art to building one that’s effective. The sales page for the HTC Vive (pictured above) doesn’t just describe the product. It also creates a value proposition (“gifts worth over $100”), makes it easier to buy (“Pre-order”), and addresses potential misgivings (“Get details”).

How to Create a Perfect Sales Page (5 Key Tips)

When optimizing your sales page, it might help to think about it like an ad you’d see in a magazine. It has to be compelling enough to encourage people to read it, and it needs to give them all the information they require to make an educated decision.

Let’s take a look at some tips for doing just that!

1. Punch Up Your Headlines

On the web, most people scan each page in an “F” shape. They read headlines, loosely scan the body, and then look at the conclusion. This behavior has many ramifications, including that it’s a mistake to write your headlines solely for search engine optimization purposes.

Instead, headlines should be written first and foremost for human visitors. They need to be simple, interesting, provocative, and useful. Your goal is to deliver immediate value to the customer, describing what they stand to gain from purchasing the product or service on offer.

For example, this sales page has an obvious value proposition – you can make dinner faster:

An example of a strong headline on a sales page.

You can use tools such as CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to improve your headlines, making them more evocative, emotional, and transparent.

2. Deliver a Clear Call To Action

A call to action (CTA) tells a customer what to do next. On a given landing page, your primary CTA could be:

  • “Call us for more information!”
  • “Start a live chat!”
  • “Sign up for our email newsletter!”
  • “Buy Now!”

A CTA increases conversion rates because it lets the customer know what the “next step” is. Any time a customer is uncertain, you risk losing the sale. They may get distracted, or they might just not know where to go or what to do.

If you look at the following landing page, you’ll see that the CTA (“Watch Demo”) is as straightforward and visible as possible:

An example of a CTA on a sales page.

On a sales page, your CTA is generally a “buy now” button. This element provides a simple, clear, and effective way to increase conversions.

3. When Possible, Personalize

80% of customers prefer websites that deliver personalized experiences – those that are tailored to each customer. By creating an experience that is more likely to be relevant, you can increase sales.

Some companies personalize their sales pages by tailoring them to each customer’s location. Other websites use tracking cookies to detect the user’s prior behavior (such as products they liked) so they can promote relevant items. The more information you have about a user, the more customized your page can be.

A personalized experience can be as simple as geographically targeting the user’s location, or as complex as tracking their prior purchases. If a user is already logged in to an account, they can also be addressed directly (“Welcome back Kim!”) to make your website feel less impersonal.

4. Add Reviews and Testimonials

Why should a customer trust you? They may have never heard of you or your product before. Fortunately, reviews and testimonials can build trust with a company in a way that other marketing techniques often cannot. When readers relate to a reviewer and their problems, it primes them to see your business as a solution.

For example, this slideshow of testimonials highlights how the product can improve a company’s operations:

An example of testimonials on a sales page.

Rather than just describing how their product can help, this business lets you see the perspective of their existing (happy) customers.

Therefore, it’s smart to consider adding some of your company’s best testimonials to your sales page. As potential customers dig further into information about your product, they’ll see that it has helped customers just like them.

5. Make Sure Your Page Works on Mobile Devices

Mobile sales make up about 73% of all sales today. Still, many companies build their websites on desktop computers or laptops. It’s easy to forget that a sales page doesn’t just need to function on a mobile device – it has to look just as good on small screens as on large ones.

One way to do this is to be deliberate about your “above the fold” content. This is the text, images, and other elements that appear immediately on a user’s screen before they scroll down the page. This content should make your primary value proposition clear, and should be short and simple so it’s immediately viewable to visitors on mobile devices.

It’s also important to test your landing page on all the platforms you can, including on mobile devices. A “responsive” or “mobile-friendly” design will tailor itself automatically to whatever platform is being used, rather than requiring multiple versions of the website for each platform.

Conclusion

Your sales page is an incredibly important stop on the buyer’s journey. It’s the best place to increase conversions, so you need to make sure it’s well designed, clear, and compelling.

You can improve your sales page by following these tips:

  1. Make your value proposition clear through better headlines.
  2. Deliver a clear CTA to encourage the customer to buy.
  3. Personalize your page to increase relevance and engagement.
  4. Add testimonials to build trust and legitimacy.
  5. Ensure that your page works properly across all platforms.

As a customer, what makes you stop at a sales page? What does it take to get you to convert? Comment below and tell us about your favorite tricks of the trade!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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How to Accept Donations Online (Everything Nonprofits Need to Know)

Many people prefer to complete tasks online. From scheduling appointments to paying electric bills, if users can't do it virtually, they might not do it at all. This same mentality can hold true when it comes to making donations.

Fortunately, enabling your nonprofit to accept donations from your website is a simple process. In fact, once you're online, you may find it's easier and more effective than using mailers or in-person events.

In this post, we'll explore why you should consider accepting online donations. Then we'll show you how to receive contributions using Buy Now Plus. Let's get started!

Why You May Want to Accept Online Donations

These days, many people prefer online donations and don't always have cash or checks at hand. If you're not able to accept online contributions, you're making it difficult, if not impossible, for these people to support your organization.

Enabling online donations can also help you to reach a wider audience. Rather than relying on more traditional methods, you can share your website across social media and email campaigns.

You'll also make it easier for your followers to share your information with their own networks:

Austin Pets Alive has several donation buttons on its website.

Finally, handling donations online can cut down on your paper usage. You can reduce or eliminate your reliance on paper mailers, saving you money on postage costs.

Accepting online contributions is also a significant first step for transitioning to paperless bookkeeping. As such, this method can be advantageous for environmentally conscious businesses.

How to Accept Donations Online (In 3 Easy Steps)

Now that we've covered the benefits of accepting online donations, let's look at starting the process with Buy Now Plus.

1. Sign Up for Buy Now Plus

When you sign up for Buy Now Plus, you'll be asked to connect your Stripe account. This step provides you and your donors with a secure payment gateway.

If you don't have a Stripe account, you'll be able to create one during the Buy Now Plus setup process:

Signing up for a Buy Now Plus account.

If you already have a Stripe account but would like to create a new one for donations, you can also handle that at this time.

Buy Now Plus enables you to add more than one Stripe account, which could come in handy for organizing your accounting.

2. Design Your Donate Button

Now that you have your Buy Now Plus account ready, it's time to create your first donation button. Start by logging in to your account and navigating to the Buttons page. Then, click on the Add New button.

Here you can add the basic information about your button. This is also where you'll choose which Stripe account to use with it:

How to create a new button in Buy Now Plus

You may want to set the price to Variable using the dropdown menu. This setting enables your donors to choose how much they'd like to give.

Alternatively, you might create a few buttons with preset amounts to encourage donations:

Changing the price option from fixed to variable.

Under the Advanced tab, you can change the text on your button. You can also set a URL that will direct users to a new page once they complete their donations:

How to change the text on a donation button.

Once you're satisfied with your button, click on the Create button to save it.

3. Share Your Button Everywhere

Finally, you can start sharing your button with your network. Buy Now Plus makes it easy to embed your button anywhere you can add a link.

You may want to start by adding the button in a few places across your website. You might include one in your main navigation menu as well as above the fold on your homepage.

It's also a smart idea to create a landing page dedicated to accepting donations.

You can still share your donation button even if you don't have a website. If you're active on social media, that's a great place to start. You can also include a donation button in your email campaigns.

Regardless of where you'd like to place your button, the process is pretty similar. Simply click on the Share button to the right of your donation button. You'll see a pop up with a link and an embed code:

Embed options for Buy Now Plus.

You can also use the social buttons to go directly to the platforms you'd like to share on.

Conclusion

Accepting donations online can be a smart move for any nonprofit. Your donors will likely appreciate the convenience, and it may even save your organization some time and money. Best of all, it's easy to get set up using Buy Now Plus.

Let's recap the three steps to accepting online donations:

  1. Sign up for Buy Now Plus.
  2. Design your donate button.
  3. Share your button everywhere.

Do you have questions about receiving contributions online? Ask us in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Keep Your Ecommerce Customers Safe (4 Tips)

If you own an ecommerce business, chances are the threat of a data breach is never too far from your mind. This is no surprise, considering how serious the consequences can be when information falls into the wrong hands.

While the possibility of exposing user information is a scary one, you're certainly not powerless to keep your customers safe.

You can significantly lessen the chances of a data breach by processing payments securely and following other safety best practices.

In this post, we'll look at why protecting personal information is so important for ecommerce businesses. Then, we'll share four tips for keeping your customers safe. Let's go!

Why Protecting Customer Information is Crucial

Perhaps now more than ever, data privacy has become a central concern for anyone who spends time online. Unfortunately, this wariness is in response to a rising number of data breaches, which has been trending upwards since 2005.

Ecommerce sites may be especially attractive to bad actors as they're likely to store payment details as well as personal information.

Stolen data is not only a concern for the owners of the information, but it can also have serious consequences for your business.

The financial impact can be especially devastating, as the cost to recover can be pretty high. In 2020, the global average cost per data breach was $3.86 million.

In addition to taking a financial hit, you could lose the trust of your existing customers, who may take their business elsewhere. These customers may also warn their networks against doing business with you, resulting in further losses.

How to Keep Your Ecommerce Customers Safe (4 Tips)

Now that we've discussed the seriousness of a data breach, let's look at a few tips you can use to keep your business and customers safe.

1. Process Payments With Buy Now Plus

Since payment information is especially sensitive, you may want to make protecting it your first priority.

Using a tool like Buy Now Plus will not only make the buying process easier for your customers, but it will also provide additional security as it's built on top of Stripe:

Buy Now Plus uses Stripe to keep payments secure.

Stripe is a very secure payment solution. All transactions processed through it are Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protected to keep data safe while it's being transmitted. Moreover, credit card numbers are encrypted and kept secure in Stripe's data center.

Getting started with Buy Now Plus is quick and easy, even if you don't have a Stripe account yet. To get started, click on the Connect to Stripe button on the Buy Now Plus login page.

Then, you'll be prompted to enter the email associated with your Stripe account. If you don't have one, any email will do:

The login screen for Buy Now Plus.

On the next screen, you'll create a password for your Stripe account. You'll then need to secure your account using a mobile number. Enter the code that you'll receive via text to continue.

At this point, you can either connect to an existing Stripe account or create a new account to use with Buy Now Plus:

Connecting a Stripe account to Buy Now Plus.

Next, you'll need to enter some details about your business, as well as some personal information.

When you're ready, you can connect your new Stripe account to Buy Now Plus.

2. Control Access With Strong Passwords

Chances are you protect sensitive information with passwords, so you'll want to be sure they're up to the task. Your best strategy for this is to follow some simple password best practices:

  • Never use the same password for more than one account.
  • Ensure that passwords are both long and complex.
  • Change passwords regularly.
  • Avoid sharing passwords.
  • Never write passwords down.

You might also consider implementing Multi-Factor Authorization (MFA). MFA adds an additional security challenge after an individual has entered this password.

This challenge could be answering a security question, entering a pin, or using a one time password (OTP) provided via text or email.

If you'd like to add this functionality to your WordPress site, you can use a plugin called WP 2FA:

The WP 2FA plugin which adds two factor authorization.

This free plugin is easy to set up and supports several OTP-generating apps. You can also configure it to force users to set up MFA immediately or give them a grace period.

3. Collect Only the Information You Need

Simply put, hackers can't steal information that you don't have. For this reason, it's best that you only collect the information needed to provide an efficient service. Remember that you can always ask for additional details later.

Aside from security concerns, asking for too much data up front can contribute to a poor customer experience. The last thing you want is to be losing customers during your signup or checkout process.

If you've already collected information you don't need, you might want to delete it now.

You'll not only keep your customers safer, but this can also help you comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Take the time to carefully consider what information you truly need. You may want to develop guidelines for the collection, storage, and eventual deletion of customer data.

Firm policies are beneficial if you work with a small team to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

4. Keep Your Software Up to Date

Outdated websites and software make desirable targets for hackers. Once word gets out about a vulnerability, it will likely be exploited quickly.

To keep your website safe, it's important to be vigilant about any updates developers release for the software and tools you use.

You'll want to be especially aware of any emergency patches which are often issued in response to a potential threat.

You can be even more proactive about this by regularly checking your software vendors' websites for any updates you may have missed. Ensuring that all of the plugins on your site are updated on a regular basis can help keep your site safe.

Conclusion

As the owner of an ecommerce business, you have an obligation to your customers to keep their private information secure. Fortunately, there are ways to protect both your customers and your company.

Let's recap the four tips we shared for protecting user data:

  • Process secure payments with Buy Now Plus.
  • Control access with strong passwords.
  • Collect only the information you need.
  • Keep your software up to date.

Do you still have questions about keeping your customers safe? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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4 Ecommerce Trends to Watch in 2022

Let's be honest: the world of ecommerce changes fast. That means running a successful business can come down to sales strategies that adapt.

However, it can be hard to create adaptable strategies when consumer opinions are constantly shifting.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to be a guessing game. By familiarizing yourself with a few likely trends for the coming year, you can prepare to leverage them to your business's advantage.

In this article, we'll cover four ecommerce trends that you might want to keep an eye out for in 2022. We'll also provide you with a few tips on how to account for them in your marketing strategy. Let's begin!

4 Ecommerce Trends to Watch in 2022

All eyes forward! Here are four big trends for the coming year that you may want to pay attention to.

1. Personalization Will Remain a Priority

Personalized service has been a crucial part of customer expectations for the past couple of years. Recent data shows that this trend is here to stay: a whopping 90% of customers are willing to share more data for a better brand experience.

This represents a huge opportunity. As you might have guessed, collecting data is crucial to creating a customized experience. That means as users share more information, you'll be more able to produce the tailored content they're looking for.

If you haven't started collecting this information yet, we highly recommend you get started right away. Even basic statistics like age, gender, and location can give you a leg up in marketing – especially if you're a small business that's just starting out.

If this sounds like you, consider investing some time in Google Analytics. While there tends to be a learning curve at first, we think the work is well worth all the actionable results you'll get in return.

One tool we recommend, MonsterInsights, can help simplify Google Analytics for you. And it also lets you view your data right from your WordPress dashboard.

Nevertheless, any tool that can accurately gather data on your users will work.

Once you have this info, make sure it's a core part of your marketing and content. A key factor in this trend is that consumers will be expecting a better experience in return for their info.

If you don't provide one, they may be less willing to share in the future.

2. Social Media Referrals Will Become Essential

Social media has become a constant in most of our lives. Most of your customers are no different. The number of visits to ecommerce sites that come from social media has risen to 21% for tablet users.

There could be a few reasons behind this. Some users may get familiar with your store's social media page and feel comfortable enough to make a purchase. Others may casually see an interesting ad and decide to pay you a visit.

Regardless of how it happens, the implication is the same: social media will be a crucial source of potential conversions. Thus, providing users with easy ways to access your site will be necessary for 2022.

However, you may be worried about losing this opportunity if you don't have a website. Fortunately, you're in luck. Our Buy Now Plus service can help.

The Buy Now Plus banner logo.

Our tool creates an easy way for your customers to make a purchase even without a website. Once you've set it up, all your fans have to do is click the “buy now” button. Then, they'll be able to use a secure Stripe-based checkout.

If you're not on social media yet, this is definitely the time to get started. Consider beginning with Facebook. As the leading social media platform for small business advertising, it's a popular way to start taking advantage of this powerful trend.

3. Customers Will Expect Environmentally Friendly Services

Doing damage to our environment will have devastating effects on our planet. As more people become aware of this truth, the desire for sustainable brands has continues to trend up.

The result is that 81% of people now expect companies to be environmentally aware.

It's worth noting the study's specific language here as well. Consumers don't view earth-friendliness as a nice perk to have – it's a base expectation.

So it's extremely important that you make your efforts toward preserving and protecting the environment clear. It could be a deciding factor for your customers.

That's why we recommend that you start openly advertising your sustainability. If you can do so in the first stage of the buyer's journey, even better.

That early exposure can help consumers directly associate your brand with environmental responsibility.

Consider integrating it into your big sales, too. For example, Patagonia made protecting the environment the foundation of their recent black Friday sale by donating 100% of Black Friday sales revenue to environmental groups.

Patagonia ad highlighting their sustainability.

The company projected sales of around $2 million, but ended up pulling in an incredible $10 million in sales. Their campaign exceeded expectations by five times!

Nevertheless, your approach doesn't have to be as aggressive. Even a small contribution can cement your brand as environmentally conscious in consumers' minds.

The bottom line is that a customers will be more inspired to buy if they know their purchase will contribute to this important cause.

4. Desktop Purchases Will Be the Most Profitable

In our modern age, people can buy things from just about any device. However, that doesn't mean that all of them are used equally.

Despite the huge number of smartphone users, desktop purchases raked in an impressive average purchase of $184.44.

This figure makes desktops the highest-return device for businesses. Mobile purchases took second place at $134.39, with tablets in third at $101.18:

The desktop spending ecommerce trends heading into 2022.

You may also notice from this graph that average desktop purchases jumped nearly $50 in the last year. This suggests that the desktop average will continue to grow into 2022.

This could be a helpful statistic if you're short on time. It can be hard to keep a website's mobile, tablet, and desktop layouts equally maintained. If you're too busy to cover all your bases, you may want to prioritize an attractive desktop site.

However, you may have also noticed that the mobile purchase average rose in the past year as well. As such, disregarding mobile users may not be the most effective approach.

That's why you might want to go the easier route: selling exclusively on social media.

These platforms are already optimized to work on all kinds of devices. By simply integrating the shopping experience into those profiles, you can skip the tech stuff and focus on your sales.

Conclusion

A lot of sales strategy is about offering your customers what they want. However, this task can be next to impossible if you don't know what that is.

Fortunately, you can give yourself a competitive edge by understanding future ecommerce trends. In this article, we covered four ecommerce trends to watch in 2022:

  1. Consumers will be increasingly willing to share data in exchange for personalization.
  2. Social media referrals will remain an essential source of customers.
  3. Environmentally friendly practices will become a prerequisite to purchases.
  4. Desktop purchases will continue to earn the highest average spend across devices.

Do you have any questions about preparing your business for 2022? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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How to Convert One-Time Shoppers into Loyal Customers (5 Tips)

Let's imagine that holiday sales were at an all-time high, and you started the year with a solid first quarter. However, as you scaled back on ads business began to slow considerably.

People are still buying from you, but you're surviving this quarter on a tiny group of repeat buyers.

By improving your brand's reputation and providing your customers with extra value, you can avoid that scenario and attract a larger base of loyal customers who keep coming back again and again.

Over time, this can stabilize sales throughout the year, helping your business get through those seasonal slumps more gracefully.

In this post, we'll share five tips to help you convert one-time shoppers into loyal customers without adding a lot of extra marketing costs. Let's dive in!

1. Start an Email List

Roughly 60% of customers prefer brands to contact them via email. It’s an easy, unobtrusive way to reach people.

An email list shouldn’t be pushy or make users feel like they have to sign up. Instead, you may want to give each customer an incentive to join, such as a discount on their next purchase:

An example of a signup page that offers discounts.

The example above is a simple and clean signup form that asks for nothing but your email address. It also offers a clear benefit – a 10% off code when you sign up.

However, once you gain a new subscriber, you'll need to keep them on your list. Let's take a look at two effective ways to retain subscribers.

Create a “Welcome” Automation

Creating welcome automations might be the best way to convert your time into value. They’re quick and easy to set up, and you can change the content to keep it relevant over time.

Some email list service providers like ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp offer straightforward ways to set up these automations. They also have a wealth of resources for writing welcome emails that convert.

Your initial email should include some information about your brand and what kind of content subscribers can expect from you. You can also add links to resources, flagship products, and your social media accounts.

Offer Discounts to Subscribers

Another effective way to retain subscribers is by offering discounts or freebies. Your discount doesn’t have to be anything big: 10-15% is common. If you’re offering freebies, this might be a test drive of your product or free samples.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that customers have a reason to remain subscribed to your newsletter.

Follow up with great content they can look forward to, as well as regular offers and goodies. That way, customers are more likely to stick around for the long term.

2. Use Recurring Payments

Recurring payments are a great way to keep customers engaged and deliver their favorite products every month. Therefore, you may want to consider offering subscriptions to your best selling items:

An example of a subscription service

As you can see in the example above, Shaker & Spoon delivers all the mixes and other fixings to help spruce up your drinks. Every drink has a background story, and they’ll teach you how to make it just like the pros.

If you’re looking to introduce customers to new products, you can also provide a subscription box service. For example, if you run an online food shop, you could deliver a mix of snacks or ingredients on a monthly basis.

3. Collect Feedback and Feature Reviews

Reviews can help you gain the trust of new customers and get a holistic picture of the customer journey. You can use this info to improve the customer experience and see if there are any concerns you need to address.

The simple act of asking for feedback shows customers that you care and are dedicated to making improvements. People appreciate being asked for their thoughts, especially if they feel that they’re contributing to your success.

It's important that you make it easy for buyers to leave reviews. For instance, you could include feedback forms on your site, or enable reviews through third-party platforms such as Google My Business:

An example of a feedback form

Surveys are another great way to collect feedback and testimonials. You can email customers a link to a short survey that asks about their shopping experience.

WordPress form plugins like WPForms make creating and managing these types of surveys super easy.

Moreover, you can ask customers if they would be interested in being contacted for a testimonial. You can then feature these testimonials on your website, email copy, or social media pages.

4. Provide a Frictionless Shopping Experience

According to recent studies, shopping cart abandonment rates sit at almost 70%. One of the leading causes of this phenomenon is a long, complicated checkout process.

An easy checkout process can help you drive higher conversions. It can also encourage users to make additional purchases from your store.

Therefore, you want to make sure your site visitors are able to process their orders in a quick and efficient manner, without having to sign up for an account or being directed to other pages.

Fortunately, Buy Now Plus can help you simplify the checkout process with powerful buy now buttons. You can even cut out some extra steps and take users straight to the checkout page to complete their orders.

5. Set Up an Affiliate Program

Affiliate marketing allows publishers and influencers to promote your products for a cut of the profits. For instance, you can give affiliates the option to advertise your products using trackable links or discount codes associated with their accounts:

An example of an affiliate program application

This strategy helps you build a loyal customer base, especially if you’re also offering discounts to affiliates on top of their normal commissions.

It can also help you reach a wider audience, and thus increase your sales.

You can easily set up an affiliate program on your existing WordPress site using a plugin like Easy Affiliate. This tool also enables you to track your conversions, process your program applications, and manage your members more efficiently.

Conclusion

Building a loyal clientele is a long-term game. However, by implementing a few effective strategies, you should be able to convert most of your first-time buyers into repeat customers.

In this post, we shared five tips to help you retain your customers:

  1. Start an email list that introduces your brand and provides additional value.
  2. Use recurring payments for frequently bought products, and offer subscriptions boxes.
  3. Collect and share reviews to help customers connect with your brand and gain their trust.
  4. Provide a frictionless shopping experience by streamlining the checkout process with Buy Now Plus.
  5. Set up an affiliate program with Easy Affiliate and offer discounts to your members.

Do you have any questions on how to convert one-time shoppers into loyal customers? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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5 Ways to Improve the Online Checkout Experience

You've got a beautiful website, great products, and buyers who want what you have. They get to the cart and hit the checkout button, only to be met with a complicated process with too many hoops to jump through.

Many may become impatient and leave.

Fortunately, you can make sure your customers don’t leave your site empty-handed and frustrated. By streamlining your checkout process, you can help prevent cart abandonment and increase your conversions.

In this post, we’ll look at some common checkout problems that often lead to cart abandonment. Then we’ll share five tips to help you improve your store’s checkout process. Let’s get started!

Common Checkout Issues That Can Lead to Cart Abandonment 

cart abandonment

According to recent studies, over 69% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts. Some of the main reasons for this include:

  • A lengthy or confusing checkout experience
  • Forcing visitors to sign up for accounts before they can check out
  • Jarring design that’s inconsistent with the brand
  • Sketchy-looking payment pages that don’t offer a sense of security

If buyers can’t get what they came for quickly, they’re likely to leave your site and do their shopping elsewhere.

Therefore, it's vital to ensure that your checkout process is quick and easy, and that it blends in nicely with the rest of the shopping journey.

5 Ways to Improve the Online Checkout Experience

Luckily, optimizing the checkout process doesn’t have to be complicated and time-consuming. Here are five simple ways you can improve the online checkout experience for your customers.

1. Simplify the Checkout Page

Typically, you’ll only want billing and shipping information on your checkout page. You may also want to gather some additional details, such as email addresses or phone numbers for sending order updates.

However, we recommend that you only ask for the information you need.

Moreover, the checkout page should be clean and distraction-free. If you run ads on your site, you may want to try to keep the order pages clear of them.

Here's an example of a clean and streamlined checkout page:

An example of a simple checkout page

As you can see, this page asks for minimal information. There are no visual distractions, and the process is short enough that it fits on one page.

2. Make Sure Your Checkout is Mobile-Friendly

With more and more customers making purchases on their mobile phones, it’s important to ensure that you have a mobile-friendly checkout.

For instance, you may want to enable payments with digital wallets such as Google Pay and Apple Pay:

Apple Pay homepage

This way customers can use their stored payment details to complete their orders more quickly.

You can also use a buy now button to give customers the option of skipping straight to the checkout page. Especially on mobile devices, people appreciate a fast and easy purchasing process without the extra loading time.

At Buy Now Plus, we help you create high-converting buttons for a quick and easy checkout on any device.

Moreover, you'll be able to use these buttons on other platforms, including your social media pages and newsletters. This means you can accept payments from anywhere online.

3. Eliminate Surprises

A general rule of thumb for user experience (UX) is this: the more predictable your design and flow are, the better. Jarring, surprising experiences are an easy way to drive visitors away.

Therefore, it's a good idea to guide your users through the checkout process. You can use a multi-step checkout, which is excellent for reducing the amount of scrolling buyers have to do.

This enables you to cleanly display everything on a single page using a multi-step form:

An example of a step-by-step checkout process.

There’s another surprise no one likes to see: high shipping costs. Depending on the platform you’re using, it may not be possible to give an exact shipping amount early on.

However, you might want to provide an estimate or make it clear that there will be shipping and handling fees.

If you’re looking to speed up your checkout process a little more, you could offer a guest checkout option. Many customers, especially one-time buyers, don’t want to deal with setting up another account.

4. Keep the Checkout Design Consistent With Your Site

Having a professionally designed site can help you build trust. On the other hand, messy and inconsistent design might make your site look suspicious, scaring customers away.

Your checkout style should be consistent with your site. This means it should avoid any jarring, unnatural transitions.

You never want to make customers feel like they’re being shipped off to someone else to make their payments, unsure if they’re paying you or a third party.

With Buy Now Plus, you can fully customize your buy now buttons so they match your branding. This way, you can keep a cohesive design throughout your checkout process.

5. Include Obvious Security Features

Finally, your checkout process should also show users they can trust you with their payment details. Therefore, you may want to provide secure payment options such as PayPal and Stripe:

The Stripe homepage

Displaying the names and logos of your payment providers can be a great way to offer that additional sense of security. Additionally, you'll want to ensure that these options are placed in a prominent area on your site, so customers are able to see them right away.

You'll be pleased to learn that Buy Now Plus runs on Stripe. This means that, as an online seller, you and your customers will benefit from Stripe's fraud protection and other security features.

Conclusion

A simple checkout experience can mean the difference between customers leaving your site with the products they love, or walking away empty-handed and frustrated.

Fortunately, you don't need to put a lot of effort (or money) into optimizing your customer journey.

In this post, we looked at five effective ways to improve your online checkout experience:

  1. Simplify your checkout page by only asking for information that you need and minimizing visual distractions.
  2. Make sure your checkout process is mobile-friendly and cuts out extra steps, by using a service like Buy Now Plus.
  3. Get rid of surprises like high shipping costs, and let buyers know exactly where they are in the checkout process.
  4. Keep your checkout design consistent with your brand.
  5. Include secure payment methods, such as PayPal and Stripe, so your buyers feel safe when they’re checking out.

Do you have any questions about how you can implement these tips to improve your customers’ online checkout experience? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Create a High-Converting Facebook Ad (3 Proven Tips)

As one of the world’s biggest social networks, Facebook Ads is the perfect way to connect with new customers and grow your audience. However, you’ll also face some stiff competition – in 2020, ten million advertisers used Facebook to promote their products and services.

Fortunately, there are tried-and-tested techniques that you can use to create high-converting Facebook Ads. By optimizing your advertisements, you should be able to attract the attention of social media users and convince them to interact with your ads. 

In this post, we’ll explore the reasons why so many businesses are investing billions into Facebook advertising campaigns. We’ll then share three tips for crafting show-stopping ads. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Facebook Ads (And Why You May Want to Use Them)

With a built-in community of roughly 2.89 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the biggest social network in the world. Today, countless businesses use Facebook to promote their products and services.

Thanks to services such as Buy Now Plus, it’s even possible to sell on this platform directly, with no website required.

If you really want to drive conversions, then you may want to consider running a Facebook Ad. This is paid content that appears in the desktop or mobile version of the News Feed:

An example of a Facebook Advertisement.

Facebook also displays ads in its right-hand column. If you're a mobile app advertiser, then your ad may even appear outside of Facebook, via the Audience Network

When it comes to crafting the perfect ad, Facebook is a flexible platform. You can include everything from text and photos, to videos, special offers, and even events. This enables you to get creative and craft advertisements that will stop Facebook users in their tracks. 

With a huge audience, Facebook Ads can be very beneficial for new stores who are looking to secure their first sales, but also established businesses who want to grow their audience.

With the average internet user spending 145 minutes on social media every day, Facebook can also help keep your customers engaged over the long term.

As an established social network, Facebook has a wealth of information about all of its users. You can leverage this data to create highly targeted advertising campaigns.

This combination of a huge global user base and powerful targeting options makes Facebook Ads an excellent platform for driving sales. To get started, head over to the Facebook Ads Manager:

The Facebook Ads Manager dashboard

In this dashboard, select Create. Then, simply follow the onscreen instructions to craft your first Facebook Ad. 

How to Create a High-Converting Facebook Advertisement (3 Proven Tips)

The Facebook Ads Manager does a good job of guiding you through creating your first ad. However, if you’re really going to smash your goals, then it helps to have some tricks up your sleeve.

Here are three proven tips for creating high-converting Facebook ads.

1. Run Targeted Campaigns

Your typical Facebook user shares a lot of information. You can put this data to good use by creating targeted ads. This can deliver higher conversions, by only serving ads to people who are likely to make a purchase.

When creating your advertisement, you’ll have the option to target users based on their location, age, and gender. You can also target people based on their interests. This includes everything from sports to vegan food, meditation, and even specific hobbies:

Selecting the interests of your target audience in Facebook ads.

You can also target users based on behavior data. This includes their prior purchases, political views, and whether they have an anniversary coming up in the next 61-90 days:

Facebook's targeted audience settings.

Alternatively, Ads Manager has a Lookalike Audience feature. You can use this to reach individuals who are similar to your most engaged existing customers:

Facebook's Lookalike Audience settings.

Lookalikes can be a powerful way to connect with people who are likely to be interested in your business. When creating your Lookalike Audience, you’ll be asked to choose a source audience. Facebook will then search for people who have similar qualities to the people in the provided source.

You can also choose the size of your Lookalike Audience. Opting for a larger audience increases your potential reach, but may reduce the level of similarity between the Lookalike and your source.

By contrast, choosing a smaller audience will more closely match your source, but it may result in fewer people seeing your ads. 

2. Experiment With the Structure of Your Ad

Many businesses choose to structure their Facebook Ads as a single image or video. However, there are other formats available, including carousel ads and collections: 

A carousel Facebook advertisement.

Carousel combines multiple videos or images into a single ad placement. This is ideal if you want to create a showreel featuring all your best products or most popular services.

You can also use this format to display social proof, including multiple customer testimonials or reviews. This can be an effective way to convince new customers to take a chance on your brand. 

Meanwhile, Facebook Collection is a group of items. This can be a dynamic and engaging way to highlight all the features of a particular product, or for displaying multiple items in a single placement. 

When the user clicks this ad, it will expand into a full-screen, scrollable Instant Experience, formerly called Canvas. This also makes Collection a great tool for encouraging new customers to explore your brand and learn more about what you have to offer.

3. Optimize Your Facebook Advertisement With A/B Testing

Creating a high-converting Facebook advertisement can be a challenge. Every target audience is unique, and it isn’t always easy to predict the kind of content that your customers will respond most positively to.

That’s where A/B testing comes in. This enables you to create variations of the same advertisement:

A/B testing in Facebook

You can then monitor the results, and pinpoint the variation that’s delivering the highest conversion rates. For example, you might experiment with different calls to action (CTAs) to see which one achieves the highest click through rate (CTR). 

Then, you can simply deactivate the under-performing variations and invest all of your time and effort (and advertising budget) into the ad that’s providing the best results. Therefore, A/B testing can remove the element of guesswork associated with designing a successful Facebook Ad.

By testing a large number of variations in quick succession, you can quickly build up a detailed picture of your target audience’s advertising preferences. This is an invaluable insight that you can use to improve your future campaigns.

Conclusion 

It’s impossible to overestimate Facebook’s potential for expanding your reach, building brand awareness, and boosting your bottom line.

If you’re not advertising on Facebook, you’re almost certainly missing out on dozens, or perhaps even hundreds of sales.

Let’s quickly recap three proven tips for creating a high-converting Facebook advertisement:

  1. Run targeted campaigns.
  2. Experiment with the structure of your ad.
  3. Optimize your Facebook advertisement with A/B testing.

Do you have any questions about advertising on Facebook? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Choose the Right Payment Gateway for Your Online Business

A recent survey shows that 68% of online shoppers abandon their carts. As a business owner, you may be looking for an effective way to encourage more users to complete their orders in your ecommerce store. 

Fortunately, the right payment gateway can help you increase your conversions. By choosing an efficient platform for online transactions, you can provide a better User Experience (UX) and a safer checkout process.

This may, in turn, help reduce your cart abandonment rate.  

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at payment gateways and the different options available. We’ll also cover the key factors to consider when choosing a payment solution for your store. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Payment Gateways

A payment gateway enables online transactions between shoppers and merchants. Typically, this service requires a user to enter their details to finalize a purchase:

An example of a payment gateway

The gateway then verifies this information and processes the payment. This facilitates the secure transfer of funds from the buyer’s account to the seller’s account.

There are different types of payment gateways available to online sellers. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones. 

Classic vs. Modern Payment Gateways

Some sellers use classic gateways such as Worldpay and Authorize.net to process credit card payments. They tend to have lower transaction fees than other available options. Moreover, they enable buyers to complete a purchase without leaving the merchant’s site.

However, classic gateways normally require store owners to open a merchant account with a bank. They can also be a bit difficult to set up. 

Meanwhile, modern payment gateways such as PayPal provide more efficient service and are very easy to set up. Sellers don’t need to create merchant accounts for these gateways – they can simply integrate them with existing bank accounts.

The downside is that these gateways tend to direct customers to their own platforms, which can harm your conversions.

Moreover, they normally charge higher fees per transaction, so they might not be the most cost-effective choices for larger businesses. 

Hosted vs. Non-Hosted Gateways

As we have seen, a payment gateway can be hosted on a third-party site or integrated into your own store.

A hosted gateway takes care of the entire transaction process. It also has measures in place to prevent fraud and ensure data protection. Thus, it offers both sellers and merchants peace of mind.  

However, some users may be wary of being directed to platforms that they’re not familiar with. This may result in them abandoning their purchases and doing their shopping elsewhere. 

On the other hand, if you enable shoppers to enter their payment details directly on your site, you may experience higher conversions.

A non-hosted gateway can blend seamlessly into your store, projecting a more professional image and helping you build trust with your customers. 

However, using one of these gateways means you’re responsible for protecting your customer’s data. You’ll also need to ensure that all transactions are secure and watch out for fraudulent activities. 

How to Find the Right Payment Gateway for Your Business

Every store has its own needs. However, there are some things that every online seller should consider when choosing a payment gateway for their store.

The first is security. For your own safety and that of your clients, you’ll need to ensure that your chosen payment method follows the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS):

The homepage of the PCI Security Standards Council

Another thing to consider is efficiency. Around 18% of customers who abandon their shopping carts do so due to prolonged and complicated checkout processes. Thus, it’s important to choose a payment gateway that facilitates quick and efficient transactions. 

On the same note, you’ll want to ensure that the payment gateway is accessible and easy to use on different platforms. If most traffic to your site comes from mobile devices, it’s a good idea to choose an option that enables swift transactions. 

For instance, some mobile phone users may feel frustrated if they have to enter their credit card details into multiple small fields. Therefore, you may want to opt for a service that enables customers to complete purchases in just a few clicks. 

Finally, you’ll need to look at the transaction fees. Depending on the size of your business, some solutions may be more cost-effective than others.

For example, classic gateways may be more viable for large companies. Meanwhile, modern gateways might be more suitable for smaller stores. 

3 Popular Payment Gateways

Choosing the right payment gateway for your store can help you reduce your cart abandonment rates and retain your customers. Let’s look at three popular options to consider. 

1. PayPal

PayPal Business homepage

PayPal is one of the most popular payment methods among online shoppers. This platform enables users to purchase using the funds in their digital wallets linked to their bank accounts. 

Pros:

  • It is a secure and trusted platform, which can help you boost conversions.
  • It’s very easy to set up.
  • It supports payments from most countries and currencies.
  • You can use it to set up recurring payments.

Cons:

  • There is limited online support available. 
  • PayPal may freeze or suspend your account if there is suspicious activity.
  • The platform has high chargeback fees.

Transaction fees: 2.9% per transaction on standard credit card payments. 

2. Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay for Business

Another popular option is Amazon Pay. This service provides a quick transaction process by using data stored in the user’s Amazon account to finalize online orders. 

Pros:

  • It enables seamless payments on different platforms.
  • It stores payment and shipping details to make the transactions simpler.
  • The platform includes Amazon fraud protection.
  • It is user-friendly.

Cons:

  • Its accessibility is limited to Amazon users.
  • It has a long signup process for merchants.
  • Amazon Pay may shut down your account on suspicion of violating its terms.

Transaction fees: 2.9% per transaction, plus an additional $0.30. Fees for international transactions go up to 3.9%.

3. Stripe

Stripe homepage

Stripe is a powerful solution for any type of ecommerce site. Besides enabling merchants to process transactions efficiently, it also offers top-notch security and protects businesses against fraud. 

Moreover, you can use Stripe with our Buy Now Plus plugin to create PayPal-style buy now buttons for your store and customize them to match your branding. Additionally, you can sell products directly on social media – no website required! 

Pros:

  • It has an accessible and helpful customer support team.
  • Stripe gives you access to multiple reports and customer data.
  • The interface is user-friendly.

Cons:

  • Its refunds do not include processing fees.

Transaction fees: 2.9% per transaction, plus an additional $0.30.

Conclusion

Choosing the right payment gateway for your online store can help you increase your conversions and reduce your cart abandonment rate. It’s important to opt for a platform that is secure, cost-effective, and easy to use.

One powerful option for ecommerce businesses is Stripe. This popular payment gateway facilitates efficient and secure credit card payments. It also protects merchants against fraudulent transactions.

Moreover, you can connect your Stripe account with Buy Now Plus to add high-converting buy now buttons to your store and social media pages.

Do you have any questions about finding the right payment gateway for your business? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Sell on Social Media – Even Without a Website

With an audience of over 3.6 billion, social media is a popular platform among online sellers. However, many fall into the trap of assuming that, before you can unlock the true power of social platforms, you need a website.

This is far from true. Today, many business owners sell to customers around the globe, without splashing out on web hosting, a domain name, or any of the costs typically associated with running a successful ecommerce site.

In this post, we’ll look at why Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social platforms are revolutionizing the ecommerce industry. We’ll then share three ways to sell products on social media, with no website required. Let’s get started! 

Why You May Want to Sell Products on Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for building brand awareness and promoting your products. However, you can take things one step further and sell products directly on social platforms – even if you don’t have a website. 

There are several reasons to use social media as your primary ecommerce channel. First, you can sign up for all of the major social media platforms for free.

Even if you have zero budget, you can create a Facebook account and promote your products to 2.80 billion active users.

By contrast, launching an online store requires you to purchase a domain name and invest in web hosting. You may even need to enlist the services of professional designers and developers. 

In addition, social platforms often come with built-in analytics and tools. This includes Facebook Audience Insights:

Facebook Insights can help you sell products on social media.

By using these tools to continuously analyze and evaluate key metrics, you can identify the content and activities that deliver the highest conversions. You can then use this data to optimize your future social media strategies and secure even more sales.

When you operate an ecommerce site, you’ll often have to invest time and effort into implementing third-party analytics. For example, many website owners use Google Analytics with their WordPress website:

The Google Analytics dashboard.

This setup requires time and effort. Depending on the tool you choose, you may even need to purchase a license or pay a subscription fee. 

In addition, social media is a time-sensitive platform, which makes it ideal for encouraging impulse purchases.

Someone scanning social media may spot your product and decide to purchase it before it gets lost in their timeline. By tapping into this spur-of-the-moment decision making, you may be able to boost your sales.

How to Sell Products on Social Media (3 Ways)

Social media offers an opportunity for online sellers to make more money. However, it’s not enough to simply publish posts about your products.

To help you make the most of this golden opportunity, here are three effective ways to sell products on social media.

1. Post to Facebook Marketplace 

Facebook Marketplace comes with a built-in audience of one billion customers. You can use this peer-to-peer marketplace to sell your products directly on Facebook:

You can sell products on social media using Facebook Marketplace.

Users will see Marketplace ads in their timeline and in their recently viewed items. This gives you a chance to catch the eye of potential new customers, without relying on them to specifically search for your products or brand. 

There’s no fee for listing items on this platform. This makes Facebook Marketplace one of the most affordable options for selling products on social media.

Facebook Marketplace is far from unique, as there are hundreds of online marketplaces to choose from. However, not every customer will feel comfortable purchasing from strangers on sites such as the Craigslist classified ads site.

Some websites even have a reputation for being filled with scammers and people pretending to be someone they’re not.

Here, Facebook Marketplace has a huge advantage. Each buyer and seller is connected to a personal or business Facebook account. This level of transparency can make even the most suspicious of customers feel comfortable making an online purchase.

2. Join an Affiliate Program

It’s possible to sell products without an inventory. By becoming an affiliate partner, you can promote a merchant’s products to your followers and get a cut of every successful sale. 

A quick search will reveal hundreds of affiliate programs that you can join. The key to generating the maximum revenue is finding the affiliate program that’s the best fit for your target audience

To start, it helps to consider the platform’s general user base. For example, 41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24. If you’re planning to post your affiliate links to TikTok, then you’ll need products that appeal to this demographic.

It’s also important to find products that fit with your established brand. This will make your promotions feel more authentic, which can help drive conversions. 

Most of the big platforms have built-in analytics that you can use to learn more about your followers. For example, you can use Twitter Analytics to explore your audience’s locations and interests:

The Twitter Analytics dashboard.

This information can help you find brands and products that resonate with your followers. After enrolling in a program, your merchant will provide affiliate links.

However, these URLs can be long and complex. To make these links more shareable, you may want to consider using a link cloaking plugin such as Pretty Links

3. Add Buy Now Buttons to Your Social Content

Social media is designed to be a rapid-fire tool, where people discuss events and respond to posts in real time. This time pressure already makes social media a great platform for promoting your products.

However, you can increase this sense of urgency by adding buy now buttons to your posts:

An example of a Buy Now button.

You can use our Buy Now Plus service to create a range of cross-platform, social media-friendly buy now buttons. This service integrates with Stripe, so your followers can fast-track straight to a Stripe-powered checkout and complete their purchase within seconds.

Thanks to this integration, you can even accept credit card payments without a website:

The Stripe checkout.

The complexity of the checkout process can have a huge impact on your cart abandonment rates. In fact, 34% of shoppers will abandon their cart if they’re forced to create an account. By helping you simplify the checkout process, Buy Now Plus can also help you boost your conversion rate. 

Conclusion 

We all know that social media is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness and promoting your products. However, you can take this one step further and complete the sales transaction entirely on your chosen social platform. 

In this post, we looked at three effective ways to sell products directly on social media, without having to set up an online store:

  1. Post to Facebook Marketplace (for free!).
  2. Join an affiliate program and promote products to the right audience.
  3. Add buy now buttons to your social content, using a tool such as Buy Now Plus.

Do you have any questions about how to run a successful ecommerce business without a website? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Monetize Your Blog (4 Revenue-Generating Tips)

Thanks to the rise of user-friendly content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, it’s never been easier to create a blog. However, you may want to convert all of that time and effort into cash at some point. 

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to make money as a blogger. If you’re generating a healthy amount of traffic, you’re in a prime position to turn your visitors into revenue. 

In this post, we’ll discuss why so many people are monetizing their blogs. We’ll then share three of our favorite revenue-generating tips. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Consider Monetizing Your Blog

There are many different reasons why people decide to start a blog. You might have dreamed about monetization all along. Alternatively, perhaps you’re knowledgeable about a particular subject and want to share your passion with the world:

An example of a passion blog about growing succulents.

You might even use your posts as part of a content marketing strategy for a related business. 

Regardless of why you started blogging, running a successful blog requires time and effort. At some point, you may want to be reimbursed for all your hard work.

Blogging can also turn into an expensive hobby. While there are plenty of free tools, you’ll usually end up investing some hard-earned cash into your blog. 

Most commonly, these costs include purchasing web hosting and a domain name. However, you can also incur additional miscellaneous fees.

For example, you may pay for specialist training to help grow your audience. Alternatively, you might run advertising campaigns on popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google.

By monetizing your blog, you can recoup some of these costs and perhaps even turn a profit.

While blogging is a hugely competitive industry, it’s still possible to convert a popular site into an additional revenue stream. You might even achieve the ultimate dream and trade your job for a career as a full-time blogger.

How to Monetize Your Blog (4 Revenue-Generating Tips)

If your blog has an audience, there are many ways to convert those visitors into revenue. Here are three ways to earn money from blogging.

1. Use a Paywall Plugin

As with any product, one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to make money off your content is to sell it.

If you have a WordPress site (and what blogger doesn't?), a high-quality paywall plugin is your best bet. The most popular one out there is MemberPress – and for good reason.

The MemberPress homepage.

The plugin is super easy to use, requires no coding, and lets you do things like…

  • Create a new paywalled site
  • Add subscriptions to your existing site
  • Use super customized paywalling with flexible sampling (lead-in, metered, and hard paywalls) like The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, for example
  • Create and sell online courses
  • Build a dedicated community
  • Accept credit cards and digital wallet payments right on your site

The real beauty of MemberPress is in its Content Protection Rules and Memberships functions.

Through Content Protection Rules, you can really drill down how you monetize your content. You can protect…

  • All content – Your entire website
  • Posts categorized and posts tagged – All content under a specific category or tag
  • Single posts – Any individual post
  • All posts – All posts except those you specify as exempt
  • Custom URIs – Specific URLs (super useful if you want to restrict content like ebooks or digital downloads)
  • Custom post types – Any custom post type you create

MemberPress basically makes your blog work like any of the big, fancy online publications out there. And if you run into any issues with the plugin – or your site in general – reach out to the MemberPress wizards over at WP Tech Support.

2. Become an Affiliate Marketer

As an affiliate marketer, you’ll partner with third-party businesses and promote their products and services via your blog. You’ll earn a commission for all sales originating from your unique affiliate links. 

Affiliate marketing is big business. With annual spending estimated at $12 billion, bloggers have a huge opportunity to make money online. 

A quick search will reveal hundreds of affiliate programs that you can join. To help drive conversions, we recommend searching for a partner or products that will appeal to your existing readership.

If you’re unsure about your audience demographics, then you can learn more about your visitors using a tool such as Google Analytics:

The Google Analytics dashboard.

It’s also wise to feature products related to your blog’s content. For example, if you write about your experiences as a parent, it may make sense to promote baby-themed products.

These relevant promotions will make your affiliate links feel more authentic, which can help drive conversions.

While using affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to generate money from blogging, affiliate URLs aren’t always pretty.

These links are often long and complex with obvious tracking codes. They can be off-putting to your readers, who may even wonder whether these odd-looking URLs are spam.

For this reason, we recommend simplifying your affiliate URLs using a link shortener such as the Pretty Links plugin:

Monetize your blog using the Pretty Links plugin.

With Pretty Links, you don't have to worry about lengthy URLs scaring your readers away. Simply enter the target link into the dashboard. Then, the plugin will generate a shorter, neater alternative, ready for you to post to your blog.

3. Enrol in an Advertising Network

Many businesses, including blogs, generate revenue by selling advertising space. There are various ad networks, but Google AdSense is one of the biggest platforms. In fact, it is used by over 38 million blogs and websites.

All of Google’s ads are mobile-responsive, so you can earn revenue regardless of whether readers are using a desktop, smartphone, or tablet.

Google even tailors these adverts based on the visitor’s geographical location, which is great for driving conversions.

There are multiple ways to display Google advertisements on your blog, but WordPress users may want to check out Site Kit. This plugin adds a range of popular Google services to your WordPress dashboard, including Google AdSense:

The Google Site Kit plugin.

After activating and configuring this plugin, you’ll need to wait for Google to approve your blog. However, as soon as you get the go-ahead, it will start displaying ads across your site.

Site Kit will even optimize your advertisements automatically by determining their optimal sizes, types, and placements. With this tool, you can avoid alienating your readers by displaying intrusive or irrelevant adverts. 

4. Add Buy Now Buttons to Your Blog Posts

Some of the biggest websites in the world use buy now buttons to encourage visitors to make a purchase. These buttons simplify the purchasing process by enabling customers to jump straight to checkout:

An example of a buy now button.

Although they’re commonly associated with ecommerce giants such as Amazon and eBay, you can add buy now buttons to your blog posts. If you sell products or services in addition to writing articles, these buttons can convert your readers into customers.

Alternatively, you can use buy now buttons to promote your affiliate URLs if you're part of an affiliate network. 

Even if you don’t have any products to promote, you can still monetize your site using buy now buttons. Many writers publish blogs for free but ask visitors to donate if they enjoyed the content.

If you create your buttons using a flexible service such as our Buy Now Plus plugin, then it’s easy to transform them into donation prompts: 

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

By simply changing the button’s label, you can start accepting donations. Buy Now Plus even supports variable pricing, so your readers can choose how much money to send you. This flexibility may result in more contributions. 

Conclusion

Creating a successful blog takes time and dedication. At some point, you may want to be reimbursed for all of your hard work. 

Let’s quickly recap three ways to monetize your blog:

  1. Become an affiliate marketer, using a plugin such as Pretty Links.
  2. Enrol in an advertising network.
  3. Add buy now buttons to your blog posts, with our Buy Now Plus service.

Do you have any questions about how to make money as a blogger? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Use Stripe Reports to Grow Your Business

A quick glance at the Stripe dashboard is all it takes to get an overview of your finances. However, if you really want to maximize your profits, then it’s time to dig deeper. 

Fortunately, the Stripe platform has everything you need to generate in-depth reports. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to see the impact of all your marketing and advertising activities.

You might even be able to root out suspicious payments, including fraudsters.

In this post, we’ll explore the purpose of Stripe reports and why they’re essential for achieving success.

We’ll then show you how to generate the detailed financial accounts you need to help your business reach its full potential. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Stripe Reports (And Why They’re Important)

Payments are the lifeblood of your business, so it’s vital that you monitor them carefully. This is where Stripe reports come in. 

Stripe’s reports generally fall into two categories. Firstly, balance reports are an itemized list of all the transactions made from your account, similar to a traditional bank statement:

An example of a Stripe report.

Meanwhile, the payout reconciliation report helps you match the payments received in your bank account with the activity in your Stripe account.

As such, payout reconciliation reports can be handy if you use Stripe to make payments via a business bank account. Note that these documents are only available if you have automatic payouts enabled. 

By analyzing these reports, you can gain a deeper insight into your customers. You may also identify opportunities to increase your sales.

For example, some data might indicate that you’re attracting high traffic from a particular region. In this scenario, you might devise marketing strategies that specifically target this demographic. Therefore, you could convert this influx of visitors into paying customers. 

Additionally, Stripe reports can help you zero in on fraudulent activity. You can then take steps to limit the financial impact on your business. 

The Two Types of Stripe Reports (And How They Work)

To take a closer look at Stripe’s reports, log into your dashboard and select Reports from the left-hand menu.

Once you’re there, you’re ready to explore Stripe’s payment reconciliation and balance reports in more detail. Let’s dive in! 

1. Stripe’s Balance Report 

To export your balance report, navigate to Reports > Balance in the Stripe dashboard. You can then use the controls to set a date range.

The Stripe dashboard will update to display your starting and ending balance for the selected period. It will also show a high-level summary of your activity during this period. This data can be useful for getting a quick overview of your finances. 

For a more in-depth look, click on Download. This launches a popup where you can specify the number of columns to include in your report: 

The Stripe Report dashboard.

Next, click on Show. You can then choose which columns to display in your report: 

Stripe's Download Report dialog.

When you’re happy with your settings, click on Download. Stripe will now generate your report as a Comma-Separated Values (CSV) file.

This document can help evaluate your cash flow by displaying each reporting category's gross, fee, and net values.

The report can also help you to calculate Stripe fees. This process isn't always easy, because increasing the overall sales also raises the corresponding Stripe charge.

However, monitoring the balance report ensures that you’re passing the appropriate fee on to your customers. You may also want to use this document when seeking external funding, such from as a shareholder or investor. 

2. Payout Reconciliation Report

Navigate back to the Reports tab and select Payment Reconciliation. Then, select a date range.

This section will now update to display a breakdown of the automatic payouts received during this period, grouped into reporting categories.

You can then select Download. At this point, you have the option to download a Summary. This is the data displayed in the Payout Reconciliation section of the Stripe dashboard:

The Payout Reconciliation export settings.

Alternatively, you can select Itemized. This will download a complete list of the individual transactions that are summarized in the Stripe dashboard.

If you select this option, then you can choose which reporting categories to include:

The charges and refunds settings, in the Stripe Report dashboard.

Charges include payments from cards plus any other payment methods. If you’re authorizing and capturing payments separately, then only the selected charges will be included here.

Meanwhile, Refunds will display data for all the payments you’ve refunded to your customers. Just be aware that this doesn’t include charge failures or partial capture reversals. 

After making this decision, you can use the Columns and Show/Hide controls to specify which data to include in your report. Then, click on Download

Reconciliation is an important accounting process that ensures the money spent or earned matches the money leaving or entering your account.

After generating this document, you may want to check for fraudulent activity or financial statement errors. For example, you can use source_id to connect a transaction to a particular Stripe object.

You can also use subscription_id to pinpoint how many sales come from billing subscriptions connected to your Stripe account.

How to Get the Most Out of Stripe Reports

It’s wise to check your Stripe reports regularly. This puts you in a strong position to identify any suspicious activity before it causes irreparable damage to your business. 

This data can also help you evaluate the success of your marketing and advertising efforts. For this reason, it could be smart to schedule a review following all major campaigns.

However, you can also refer to Stripe’s reports throughout your campaigns. In this way, you can refine and optimize your in-progress marketing and advertising strategies to deliver even better results.

Since these reports contain such a wealth of information, it’s important to share your findings with other departments.

Wherever possible, we recommend sharing the raw data. Your co-workers may have a unique insight or interpretation of the results.

If you’re using other financial tools, you may want to consider integrating them with your reports. By doing so, you can have a single location to analyze all of your financial data.

If you’re using QuickBooks accounting software or the cloud-based NetSuite, then you'll be happy to know that Stripe reports are compatible with both tools. 

Conclusion

Keeping a close eye on your funds is essential for any business owner. While the Stripe dashboard does provide an overview, you could benefit from analyzing detailed data records.

To help you assess the health of your business, let’s recap the two categories of Stripe reports: 

  1. Balance report: This itemized Comma-Separated Values (CSV) file can help evaluate your cash flow and accurately calculate Stripe fees. 
  2. Payout reconciliation report: A breakdown of the automatic payouts received in your bank account. It is ideal for identifying suspicious activity, including potential fraudsters. 

Do you have any other questions about how to get the most out of Stripe reports? Let us know in the comments section below!

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What’s the Best Way to Accept Credit Card Payments?

Credit cards are one of the most popular payment methods for online purchases. Therefore, accommodating these purchases is essential if you want to run your business effectively.

However, there are risks of fraud associated with credit cards, so you'll need to choose your payment providers carefully.

Fortunately, there are a few different ways to accept credit card payments safely. By choosing the best solution for your needs, you can attract and keep customers by making their checkout experiences safe and seamless.

In this guide, we look at the best way to accept credit card payments. We'll also discuss the benefits and dangers of credit cards, and how to choose the best payment method for your business. Let’s get started!

The Benefits of Accepting Credit Card Payments

Credit cards are one of the most common payment methods, especially online. In fact, more than 56% of Americans use this method for online payments. When you consider that more than 365 million Americans had credit cards in 2020, that's a lot of purchases.

If your business doesn't accept these types of payments, you may miss out on a lot of potential sales. Therefore, it's in your best interests to support credit card purchases, and to make the checkout process as easy as possible.

The Dangers of Credit Card Payments

Of course, some customers are wary of using their credit cards to pay online. In 2020, credit cards were the main source of fraud reports for online payments. Additionally, they were the source of 12% of payment data breaches in the same year.

Identity theft and fraudulent payments are dangers for your customers and your business. That's why it's important to choose a secure payment gateway that can protect against these threats.

Credit card payments can also come with transaction and conversion fees. It's vital to know about these fees upfront. Fortunately, there are some payment methods that minimize the fees you're responsible for.

3 Ways to Accept Credit Card Payments

There are multiple ways that you can accept credit card payments online and in person. Each method comes with its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your business' needs. Let's take a look at three of the most popular options.

1. Buy Now Plus

Blue background with an orange button and text describing the Buy Now Plus plugin

Buy Now Plus is one of the easiest and safest ways to accept online credit card payments. You can place buttons on your website that direct customers to a secure payment gateway that works with Stripe.

One of our plugin's best features is that it's free to set up, and only charges you a flat 3% fee for every transaction. Regular credit card merchant fees can be as high as 4-5%, so this can mean significant savings for your business.

Buy Now Plus also offers a very user-friendly interface, and has customizable options. You can set up recurring billing for your customers or process simple transactions. In addition, it uses Stripe, which has reliable anti-fraud protections in place.

However, Buy Now Plus does not accept PayPal payments. You will also need a Stripe account to use it.

Buy Now Plus Fees: 3%

2. PayPal

An advertisement of the PayPal commerce platform

PayPal Commerce is another popular option for small to medium-sized businesses. It's a sophisticated financial platform that enables you to accept and make payments, track your business' growth, and benefit from fraud protection.

The key advantage of the PayPal platform is its streamlined dashboard. There, you can view detailed statistics on your payments and business. You can also access tools that help grow your business and increase online conversions.

PayPal also has sophisticated fraud protection measures. The platform constantly identifies and protects you against payment fraud with its updating algorithms.

However, you should be mindful that PayPal Commerce has higher merchant fees than other credit card platforms. It charges 2.9 percent plus a fixed fee for domestic payments. For international transactions, the amount can be even higher.

PayPal is also not the most user-friendly option. If you do run into issues, it can be challenging to contact the customer service team and receive help promptly.

PayPal Fees: 2.9% + fixed fee for domestic payments

3. EFTPOS

Swiping a card through an EFTPOS terminal
Image credit: Pixabay

Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS) is a payment option in most physical stores. These machines accept many card types, and charge the customer instantly when they swipe your card and enter their PIN.

EFTPOS can be an excellent option if you have a physical store or the capacity to accept card details over the phone. These machines process transactions quickly, and store details electronically so you can track transactions. They are also very easy to use.

However, you cannot use EFTPOS to accept transactions online. Therefore, this payment method can be restrictive for many businesses.

EFTPOS Fees: 0.5-1%

How to Choose the Best Way to Accept Credit Card Payments

There are a few factors you might want to consider when you choose a credit card payment platform from the above options.

First, if you have an online business, Buy Now Plus and PayPal Commerce are the most viable options. EFTPOS works via a physical machine, so it's better suited to physical shopfronts. Both PayPal and Buy Now Plus have excellent fraud prevention measures in place to protect your business.

If you want to minimize the fees you pay, Buy Now Plus is the more affordable option. It is also more streamlined and user-friendly, so it could be suitable for users with less technological expertise.

PayPal might be the correct choice for you if you want access to its analytics and business growth tools. These features, when paired with its limited customer service, mean that the platform could suit those with a higher level of familiarity with payment systems.

Overall, we recommend Buy Now Plus for most businesses. Unless you want access to PayPal's analytics, you can benefit more from the lower fees and user-friendly interface.

Conclusion

Credit cards are one of the preferred online payment methods for customers all over the world. If you run a business, you'll need a secure and straightforward way to accept these payments.

The good news is that you have a few different options. If you have a physical store or can accept phone payments, the EFTPOS system can be viable. Otherwise, using Buy Now Plus is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to accept credit card payments.

Do you have any questions about using Buy Now Plus to accept online payments? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Reduce Customer Refunds (3 Tips)

As a business owner, every sale is a success. However, not every sale is final, and sometimes customers may request a refund.

Processing these product returns can be time-consuming and frustrating, but they don’t have to be a constant part of running an online business. There are ways to reduce the number of customer refunds you receive. 

In this post, we’ll discuss why product returns are bad for business. We’ll then share three ways to keep your customers happy – and keep those hard-won dollars in your pocket. Let’s get started! 

Why It’s Important to Reduce Customer Refunds

Whenever a customer requests a refund, you have a lot of work ahead of you – for zero profit. Processing a refund requires time and effort, and it’s an unexpected drain on your resources. In fact, customers returning electronic products alone cost U.S businesses nearly $17 billion a year

Every refund is bad news for your bottom line. If you’re going to turn a profit, then it’s crucial that your product returns are few and far between. 

A customer who wants to return a product may not be in the best frame of mind. For this reason, it’s important that you maintain a high standard of professionalism and positivity throughout the entire refunding process.

If the refund experience is slow, or your staff seem unhelpful, then the customer is likely to take their refunded money and run straight to your competitors. 

A returned product may represent a short-term loss of earnings. However, losing a customer will have a long-term financial impact on your business. To minimize the short and long-term revenue losses, it’s important to take steps to reduce the number of customers who request a refund. 

How to Reduce Customer Refunds (3 Tips)

Refunds represent a major headache for all businesses. Let’s make sure your hard-won profits remain in your pocket. Here are three ways to reduce customer refunds. 

1. Write Informative and Accurate Product Descriptions

With online shopping, customers cannot physically inspect a product before hitting that buy now button. Instead, they rely on product descriptions. This is all the information shoppers have to help them make the correct purchasing decision: 

Detailed product descriptions can help you reduce customer refunds.

If your product page is incomplete, unhelpful, or outdated, there's a greater your customer will make the wrong decision. For example, they might order a piece of hardware that’s incompatible with their setup, or a jacket that’s too big.

If the customer is unhappy with the product, they’re way more likely to request a refund.

That's why all the information on your product pages should be accurate, detailed, and written in a simple and understandable way. However, there’s also the danger of overwhelming shoppers with too much text. To keep the word count to a manageable level, you might want to link to other resources where appropriate:

Reduce customer refunds with in-depth product descriptions.

For example, many clothing websites state the item’s size and then link to supporting documentation. Here, customers will find the exact body measurements for small, medium, and large sizing:

An example sizing guide.

You can also hide some content by default. Shoppers can then click to expand a section in order to access more detailed information: 

An example product description.

Every product description is different. However, you’ll typically want to highlight the product’s weight and its dimensions.

When writing your product information, it may help to refer to the descriptions used by ecommerce giants such as Amazon. This can provide valuable inspiration, and help you spot any details that are missing from your own product pages. 

2. Provide Lots of Visuals

As the saying goes, ​​a picture is worth a thousand words. While shoppers cannot physically see the product in real-life, you can provide lots of high-resolution images:

How to reduce customer refunds with high-resolution images.

Ideally, we recommend uploading at least four photos of each product. These images should show the item’s front, back, and both sides.

Product images are crucial, but they can also add a significant amount of weight to your website. To help preserve your site’s performance, we recommend using an image compression plugin. 

Compression reduces the size of an image by removing or grouping together certain parts of the file. There are many compression solutions available, but TinyPNG is available as both an online service and a WordPress plugin:

The TinyPNG image compression plugin,

Product images are a mainstay of ecommerce stores. However, you may also want to consider creating a short video.

This can be a simple 360-degree view of the product, or something more complex, such as a demonstration of the item’s core features. If there’s a video advertisement for the product, this can help give the customer a clearer picture of what the item looks like.

3. Encourage Your Customers to Leave Reviews

According to research, shoppers are 270% more likely to purchase an item that has reviews. This makes product reviews a powerful way to boost your sales.

These reviews can also help customers make more informed purchasing decisions. By reading a customer’s honest thoughts and experiences with a product, shoppers can decide whether this is the right item for them.

It may seem crazy to give shoppers a convenient way to complain about your products. However, most consumers understand that you cannot please 100% of the people, 100% of the time.

Reading negative opinions about your products can help customers decide whether these drawbacks are deal breakers for them. This may reduce your conversion rates, but it should also reduce the number of refunds you'll need to process.

According to Bright Local, 76% of consumers are happy to leave feedback, if asked. This suggests that generating lots of customer reviews may be as easy as sending follow-up emails asking customers to review a recent purchase: 

Reviews can help you reduce customer refunds,

Some of the major mailing platforms can even automate this process. For example, ActiveCampaign makes it easy to send follow-up emails to your audience: 

ActiveCampaign homepage

Convincing customers to provide a review is only half the battle. They also need a way to upload their thoughts to your website.

If you’re selling products via WooCommerce, you're in luck. This popular ecommerce platform supports product reviews out-of-the-box. Alternatively, your customers can submit reviews via a plugin such as Site Reviews. 

Conclusion

As the old saying goes, the customer is always right. If someone wants to return a product, then it’s often best to provide their refund with no questions asked, rather than risking losing the customer completely. 

With this in mind, let’s quickly recap how to ensure that your customers are happy with their purchase:

  1. Write informative and accurate product descriptions.
  2. Provide lots of visuals.
  3. Encourage your customers to leave reviews.

Do you have any questions about reducing the number of product returns? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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4 Places You Can Find and Buy Online Businesses for Sale

Building your own business can be a rewarding experience. However, it can also mean long hours, many rounds of trial and error, and lots of hard work.

Fortunately, there is a way to fast-track through those turbulent early years. By purchasing a ready-made business, you can take over an operation that's already generating healthy profits and has a loyal customer base.

In this post, we’ll discuss why becoming a successful business owner doesn't always mean starting your empire from scratch. We’ll then share four places where you can purchase a profitable online business today. Let’s jump right in!

Why You Might Want to Buy an Online Business

Starting your own business can be rewarding and lucrative. However, building a business from the ground up isn't always the best option.

Whenever you start a new venture, there’s always an element of the unknown. Even if you’ve created a thorough business plan, there’s no guarantee that your company will be profitable.

In fact, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years.

Instead of taking a gamble, you might decide to buy into a businesses that has a proven track record.

By purchasing a company that's already established, you can fast-forward through those turbulent early years and get straight to the fun part: running a successful online business and enjoying the profits.

You may also want to buy a ready-made business if you have limited experience building a company from scratch. Purchasing a pre-made empire is particularly attractive to first-time entrepreneurs who dream of running their own businesses, but are unsure where to start.

Some entrepreneurs also purchase online businesses as a means of generating passive income, sometimes in addition to working a full-time job.

Since the business is already established, it can often start providing revenue immediately, with very little manual input from you.

Alternatively, we’ve seen business owners buy into an existing company in order to gain more market share within their industry. By absorbing some of the competition, you can position yourself as a true market leader.

For all these reasons and more, buying an already established company can often be a smart option. Below, we'll take a look at where to find online businesses for sale.

4 Places You Can Find and Buy Online Businesses for Sale

If you’re keen to invest in a thriving and profitable online business, there's no time like the present to start shopping.

Here are four of our favorite marketplaces that specialize in helping eager buyers find the perfect five-star online ventures for their needs.

1. Shopify Exchange

Shopify Exchange is a marketplace dedicated entirely to businesses built on the Shopify platform. Any company you purchase via this marketplace is guaranteed to be built using this popular ecommerce software.

This makes Exchange perfect for anyone who has previous experience with the platform, or if you're specifically looking for a Shopify-based business:

The Shopify Exchange marketplace.

Shopify Exchange plays host to a wide variety of stores. There is a useful search function that can help you to pinpoint your dream business.

You can use search filters to quickly narrow down your search based on crucial characteristics, including business type and size:

Searching for online businesses to buy on Shopify Exchange.

When purchasing an existing company, it's important to keep your eyes out for incorrect information. Some unscrupulous sellers may attempt to withhold details or even tweak their statistics to try and secure a sale.

However, Shopify business owners integrate their stores directly with Shopify Exchange. This prevents them from tampering with any of the data that’s pulled from their sales listings.

While we always recommend conducting thorough due diligence, this integration provides great peace of mind and helps buyers to make confident purchases.

2. AcquireBase

AcquireBase has a huge database of online businesses for sale, and a powerful search function with all the filters you need to find the company that’s right for you.

You can use these filters to narrow down listings based on keywords, or to view only businesses that adhere to a specific model.

With its focus on startups, AcquireBase is a good choice for anyone looking to purchase a smaller business:

The AcquireBase marketplace for online businesses.

One feature that really makes AcquireBase unique is its Premium membership ($299 when purchased annually). With this, you’ll be able to view listings and contact sellers 14 days earlier than regular buyers:

Searching for online businesses to buy on AcquireBase.

AcquireBase doesn’t charge a commission for successful sales. To ensure that transactions are secure, online business sales are facilitated through a partnership with the leading online escrow service, Escrow.com.

3. Flippa

With almost 6,500 live listings at the time of writing, Flippa offers plenty of choice, and claims to have generated over $400 million in sales. Flippa isn’t solely dedicated to selling online businesses, as it also sells applications and domains.

However, the service divides its offerings into categories, so you’ll have no problem narrowing your search to online businesses only:

The Flippa marketplace for online businesses.

Flippa even offers subcategories for all of its listings. This means that you can easily filter your results to view ecommerce businesses created using Shopify, Amazon FBA, and more.

These fine-grained filters mean that Flippa is ideal if you’re searching for an online business that uses a specific platform or technology:

Searching for online businesses to buy on Flippa.

Unlike some other online marketplaces, Flippa offers its own escrow service rather than partnering with an external provider. This integrated approach promises to make the transaction process smooth and secure.

Uniquely, Flippa also offers two legal service packages, which are geared toward sales under $100,000 and over $100,000.

4. Empire Flippers

Empire Flippers is an Inc. 5000 company and marketplace that boasts an 83% sales success rate. Unlike some other marketplaces, Empire Flippers takes a hands-on, personalized approach to help people purchase online businesses:

Empire Flippers' has a range of hand-picked online businesses for sale.

Every company listed for sale on the Empire Flippers marketplace has been carefully vetted. While this may result in fewer listings when compared to competing marketplaces, Empire Flippers promise to deliver quality over quantity:

Searching for online businesses to buy on Empire Flippers.

Empire Flippers may be a good fit if you have the funds to invest in a more established business that’s already generating lots of revenue.

Due to its selective approach, Empire Flippers is also best suited to entrepreneurs who are willing to wait for the perfect business to get listed.

If you find a company you’re interested in learning more about, you can access 12 months of store data by paying a 5% refundable deposit.

All of this information has been examined by the Empire Flippers team, which gives it a higher degree of legitimacy. The info includes Google Analytics data, plus a profit and loss statement.

Conclusion

Many people dream of owning their own businesses, but hesitate due to the risks involved. The good news is that buying an existing company is often less risky (and faster) than starting your empire from scratch.

If you want to fast-forward through the startup phase, here are four places where you can buy an online business:

  1. Shopify Exchange: A marketplace that focuses exclusively on buying and selling Shopify websites.
  2. AcquireBase: A platform offering a unique premium membership that’s ideal for serious buyers.
  3. Flippa: A website that boats its own escrow service and legal service packages.
  4. Empire Flippers: A marketplace that offers fewer listings than some of its competitors, but focuses on quality over quantity.

Do you have any questions about how to purchase a successful online business? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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3 Easy Ways to Make Your First Online Sale

The digital age has brought a lot of changes for salespeople. Even brick-and-mortar purchases are shifting to the ecommerce stage.

If you haven’t made your first online sale yet, all of these developments might make it hard to know where to start.

Fortunately, the process doesn’t have to be difficult. By focusing on your audience, you can successfully start selling your products online – even if you don’t have a website.

In this article, we’ll look at why you should consider shifting to an ecommerce model. Then we’ll show you three strategies for getting started with your first online sale. Let’s dive right in!

Why Online Sales Are the Wave of the Future

Let’s be honest: ecommerce is here to stay. In fact, recent studies have predicted that U.S. retail ecommerce revenue will grow an annual 12.3% by 2024.

This is a huge opportunity for both brick-and-mortar retailers and newcomers.

Additionally, there are unique benefits to an ecommerce approach. One of these is that online purchases are generally more resistant to circumstances that are hard on physical stores.

For example, the above statistic predicts accelerated growth despite recent COVID-related downturns.

There’s also typically a lower investment for online sales. You don’t need to maintain a storefront or pay someone to stock your shelves.

That means you can use this saved money and flexibility to further develop your business, such as by making it more environmentally friendly.

Finally, there’s substantial demand for online purchases. Up to 60% of consumers who have shifted to online purchases aren’t planning on returning to physical ones. Therefore, you could risk losing customers if you don’t make the switch with them.

How to Make Your First Online Sale (3 Easy Ways)

Fortunately, you can begin selling online quickly by focusing on one key element: your audience. Here are three ways to cater to your shoppers and make your first online sale.

1. Leverage Your Social Media Presence

Social media platforms are already filled with active users. Furthermore, those who have followed your business profile have shown that they’re interested in your products.

That's why social media networks can be an excellent way to directly pinpoint your current fans.

All you have to do is provide these already interested users with an easy way to purchase your offerings online. If you’re searching for the perfect tool to help you, look no further than Buy Now Plus:

A banner for Buy Now Plus, an easy way to make your first online sale.

Our program makes selling online easy. Best of all, you don’t even need to have a website. You can instead provide a buy now button directly on your social media profiles with a simple link.

That means your users won’t need to leave the platform. We’ll process their purchases through our secure servers. So your customers can be confident in the safety of their personal data.

In addition to potential first customers, social media can also help you develop a plan to keep them coming back.

These platforms make it simple to interact with brands and share feedback. You can consider Oreo’s official Facebook page as an example:

An image of Oreo's Facebook page complete with user feedback.

Your profile is the perfect place to start building audience engagement. You might also gain a clearer idea of what your customers love about your products.

With a little bit of outreach, you might even be able to find influencers who will enthusiastically promote your brand.

2. Build an Email List of Potential Customers

Social media has its benefits, but more traditional email marketing still holds a lot of power. Recent figures show that there are about 4 billion email users around the world.

As you can imagine, using these platforms is a reliable way to reach most of your potential consumers.

In addition popularity, using emails also has several other benefits. For example, emails are easier to personalize.

You can address them to individuals rather than groups. This personal touch may encourage recipients to open the messages.

By the same token, this allows you to create more targeted messages. You might decide to make your first online sale by offering a special discount to those who have been customers in your physical store, for example.

Fortunately, there are several ways to start your first email list. For example, you might collect this information from an already popular social media account.

If you have your own website, you can also promote your email list there.

Additionally, email marketing itself doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply providing your recipients with an easy link to access a specific product can be very effective:

A simple example of effective email marketing from Brooks Running.

We also encourage you to build your email list as your customers make more purchases. Consider giving your shoppers the option to sign up for special deals.

Then, you can take advantage of your growing list with some of the best email campaign strategies for maximum effect.

3. Consider Affiliate Marketing

You don’t need to make your first sale alone. On the contrary, using affiliate marketing can be an effective way to launch your online plans.

Affiliate marketing is where you work with individuals in your niche to advertise your brand. Then, if their advertising results in a sale, you pay them a commission.

This process offers several benefits. For one, influencers are often very connected to niche markets. Therefore, they can help you reach potential customers who you may not have even considered.

Additionally, affiliate marketing can be very cost-effective. The commission structure means you only have to pay for marketing that works. This is an ideal arrangement if you’re just starting out and operating on a tight budget.

If you’re looking for a tool to help you kick-start an affiliate marketing program, you can consider our sister plugin, Easy Affiliate:

Easy Affiliate homepage.

Easy Affiliate makes it simple to start a program, even if you haven’t made your first sale yet.

You can begin with a few affiliates and use them to grow your customer base. Then, as your sales increase, you can scale your program to match.

Other powerful Easy Affiliate features can support you as well, such as built-in email marketing and real-time reports to help you refine your approach. If these elements sound appealing, consider checking out how to start an affiliate program.

Conclusion

We won’t lie to you – making your first online sale can be a real challenge. With so many new elements to consider, it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed. Fortunately, a straightforward audience-centric strategy can go a long way.

In this article, we covered three ways to reach out to your shoppers and make your first online sale:

  1. Leverage your existing social media following.
  2. Craft an email list of interested customers.
  3. Consider affiliate marketing to expand your reach.

Do you have any questions about shifting to online sales? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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3 Reasons Why the Future of Ecommerce Is Looking Bright

Ecommerce is enjoying one of its biggest booms ever. Events in 2020 and 2021 drove people to buy products and services online in record numbers.

In Q1 2021 alone, online sales climbed by a staggering 39%, and that's after a banner year for the industry.

While some people are concerned that ecommerce numbers will drop as life returns to normal, we believe that the industry will continue to see record sales across the field.

We're not just basing that on intuition either. There are clear signs that point toward a bright future for ecommerce.

In this article, we'll break down the three top reasons why we believe that it's a fantastic time to invest in ecommerce solutions or adopt them for your business. In fact, let's start by talking about adoption!

1. Ecommerce Adoption Isn't Slowing Down

The pandemic forced many businesses to open online channels so they could continue to sell their products. As life around the world returns to “normal”, many retailers and customers may once again focus on face-to-face sales.

While that's possible, industry analysts are convinced that the ecommerce boom is far from over. Online sales are expected to reach $5.4 trillion in 2021.

Let's compare that to the last few years:

  • 2018: $2.98 trillion
  • 2019: $3.35 trillion
  • 2020: $4.28 trillion

To be fair, ecommerce sales have been on an upward trend at least since 2014. As more users gain access to mobile and desktop computer devices, it's expected for them to start moving some of their shopping online.

The big change that 2020 brought is that many users were forced to adapt to ecommerce as a regular part of their lives. If you used to make a couple of online purchases (or none) per month pre-pandemic, chances are that number is now a lot higher.

In the US, 9% of ecommerce users in 2020 said they'd never bought anything online before the pandemic. Of Japanese customers, 8% said the same, as did a surprising 15% in the UK.

2020 bought a massive wave of new users for online stores. A lot of those customers are finding that they prefer the convenience of online shopping over face-to-face purchases.

That applies even if they can now get out of the house and buy what they need in person.

2. A Younger Demographic is Spending More Money Online

It should come as no surprise that younger generations are more accustomed to online shopping than their older peers. As we mentioned before, 2020 bought a massive influx of new customers to the ecommerce market.

It's also key to point out that two out of three new customers happened to be in the 18-34 age range.

Ecommerce adoption in older demographics still grew significantly, but by a much smaller margin than with younger consumers. At the same time, purchases via mobile devices reached $2.66 trillion in 2020.

That means 56% of all ecommerce transactions in 2020 came from mobile users.

There's a direct correlation between younger customers turning to online purchases and increased spending from mobile users. Of U.S. residents aged 18-29, 96% own a smartphone, but that percentage decreases as the age group rises:

Percentage of US adults that own a smartphone
Image credit: Pew Research Center

Ultimately, increased ecommerce adoption among younger customers means all the growth that we've seen during the past couple of years is unlikely to reverse.

Younger age groups are much more comfortable making transactions online. Additionally, they're likely to be loyal customers for a long time if you succeed in engaging with them.

3. Recessions Lead to New Business Ventures

Historically speaking, recessions and downturns in the job market usually lead to spikes in entrepreneurship.

The pandemic caused millions of people to lose their jobs due to cost-cutting and companies shutting down. For some people, that was the push that they needed to try and launch their own business ventures.

That spike in entrepreneurship is excellent news for the ecommerce market. It's never been easier to launch an online store using ecommerce platforms and software (such as our own Buy Now Plus plugin).

In many cases, all you have to do is sign up for an account, and you can start selling online right away:

Signing up for a Stripe account

Although some new ecommerce businesses might not succeed in the long term, more competition is always good. Some companies that might have never considered going online before made the jump because they needed that lifeline.

If you run such a business, you'll find that the jump to ecommerce can be a lot easier than you'd imagined, depending on what platform or solution you choose.

Even if you're entering a competitive market, it's always possible to carve out a niche for yourself and increase sales by adding new online channels.

Conclusion

Physical shopping isn't going anywhere, but ecommerce's growth can't be stopped. Year after year, the market keeps breaking records.

New businesses launch online stores, new customers make their first online purchases, and online shopping becomes more normalized for different types of products.

To recap why the future of ecommerce is looking bright, we can boil our opinion down to three points:

  1. Ecommerce adoption isn't slowing down.
  2. A younger demographic is spending more money online.
  3. Recessions lead to new business ventures.

What do you think about the state of ecommerce in 2021? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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How to Write a Small Business Plan (4 Key Elements to Include)

When you have a brilliant business idea, it’s tempting to dive straight into making your dream a reality. However, without a plan, you may struggle to motivate your new employees, attract the best partners, or secure investor capital.

This is where a business plan comes in.

By taking the time to create this formal document, you can transform your idea into something tangible, and convince everyone to get behind your organization.

In this post, we’ll explore what a business plan is and why every company should have one. We’ll then discuss the four essential elements of any effective small business strategy. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Small Business Plans (And Why They’re Important)

At a high level, a business plan is a written document that defines what your company is, the activities it performs, its core objectives, and how you’re going to achieve those objectives.

Many startups create this document before beginning operations, to help them explore whether their brilliant idea might actually become a viable business.

This plan can be used internally, but also externally. If you’re seeking investment from third parties, an effective business plan can help you secure funding even if you don't have a proven track record:

An example small business plan.

Although they’re useful tools for startups, many established companies treat their business plans as internal road maps.

By constantly referring to this document, you can evaluate whether you’re on track to achieving your goals, or whether you might need to adjust your operations. For this reason, we recommend that all companies maintain an up-to-date business plan.

This document may also help you realize that your goals have evolved, and that you need to adjust your approach as a result. It’s not uncommon for an established company to create an entirely new business plan to reflect a change of direction.

How to Write a Small Business Plan (4 Key Elements to Include)

Before we get to the list, we thought we'd throw you an idea. While you can save money creating your business plan on your own, it might be worth it in the long run to consult with an expert.

Platforms like Fiverr are a great place to find someone who can help you make sure you're starting out on the right foot.

That said, no two business plans are identical. However, there are some common elements that you’ll typically include in your plan. To help you structure this important document, here are four key elements you may want to incorporate.

1. Executive Summary

This section outlines your company and its mission statement. It’s also a good idea to provide information about your products and services, plus an overview of your leadership, employees, operations, and location.

If you plan to ask for financial backing, you may also want to include a high-level overview of your growth plans and some basic financial information:

An executive summary.

Although all parts of your business plan are important, we recommend prioritizing the executive summary.

This is because busy investors, banks, and potential business partners may decide whether to study your business plan in more detail based on the executive summary alone.

As the saying goes: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Therefore, if your summary doesn’t contain exactly the information a person is looking for, they may dismiss your plan from the first page.

2. Products, Services, and Market Analysis

Next, you can go into detail about your products and services. You’ll typically want to include pricing, benefits to the customer, and your unique selling point (USP).

And if you’re performing any research and development, now is the time to mention it:

A small business plan.

It’s also smart to disclose your plans for intellectual property, such as copyright or patent filings. For some industries, it may also make sense to go into detail regarding the production and manufacturing process.

In addition to defining what your business has to offer, it’s important to demonstrate an understanding of where your products and services will fit within the industry.

This means exploring the competition, their strengths and weaknesses, and how challenging it will be to acquire part of their market share. Throughout this section, it’s also smart to communicate an understanding of the expected demand for your particular products and services.

3. Financial Planning and Budget

Financial planning and future projections are an essential part of any business plan. Even if the document is for internal use only, this section can help you budget and balance your cash flow:

Financial planning and budgeting information.

As part of your financial planning, we recommend including staffing, development, manufacturing, and marketing costs.

If you’re seeking outside investment, you may want to go into more detail, and provide targets and estimates spanning the first few years of your business:

Projected financial data.

While you may feel passionate about your new venture, it’s important to be realistic. An overly optimistic business plan that ignores weaknesses, potential pitfalls, and threats is unlikely to be well-received by potential investors and business partners.

Even worse, if you overestimate your revenue, this can lead to increased overheads and perhaps even a cash flow crisis.

To help keep your plan grounded in reality, only make claims that you can support with hard evidence. You might weave this proof into your business plan or include it as part of an appendix.

As an alternative, you might simply have this data on hand in case a potential investor requests more information. The only rule is that this evidence must exist.

4. An Appendix

An effective business plan will strike a balance between providing enough detail and remaining focused on what the reader needs to know.

Creating a comprehensive, detailed, and extensive plan may feel like you’re setting your business up for success.

However, lengthy documents are notoriously difficult to maintain. By creating an exhaustive business plan now, you may find that this plan is rarely used in practice.

While creating the document, it’s wise to constantly ask yourself whether each piece of information might be better suited to an appendix. In particular, detailed financial forecasts, market research data, product literature, and technical specifications are usually better included in an index.

This ensures that detailed information is on hand for readers who want to delve into the finer points, without distracting from the flow of the document.

Conclusion

We’re not going to pretend that starting a business is easy. However, with some careful planning, you can maximize your chances of turning your brilliant idea into a world-class business.

To set you on the road to success, let’s recap four things to include in your small business plan:

  1. Executive summary
  2. Products, services, and market analysis
  3. Financial planning and budget
  4. An appendix

Do you have any questions about how to write an effective small business plan? Let us know in the comments section below!

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4 Top Tools for Small Businesses Just Starting Out

Finding the right tools is the best way to set your company up for growth and success. However, as a small business, it can feel like your options are limited.

Fortunately, there are plenty of world-class tools that cater to the unique needs (and budgets) of brand-new businesses. By being a savvy shopper, there’s no reason you can’t access the same features and firepower as established enterprises.

In this post, we’ll share advice on how to find the best software for your startup. We’ll then suggest four of our favorite tools for small businesses just starting out. Let’s dive in!

How to Choose the Best Tools for Your Small Business

As a new business, it’s essential that you catch the attention of potential new customers, convert them into qualified leads, and ultimately secure your first sales. To achieve all of this, you’ll need the right tools.

However, as a brand-new business, you may initially be working to a tight budget. To minimize your running costs, you might want to try free software over premium options. Some proprietary tools even offer entry-level or free plans with usage restrictions.

For example, the popular Mailchimp marketing automation platform is free for up to 2,000 contacts:

Mailchimp's range of subscription plans.

Another example is the Hootsuite social media management platform. This marketing tool has a single-user plan that’s perfect for solo entrepreneurs.

For small businesses just starting out, these plans provide access to professional tools without requiring you to pay top dollar for features you don’t currently need.

And the majority of these tools are scalable. As your business grows, you can upgrade to a more expensive plan without the added stress and worry associated with learning a new tool or migrating all of your data.

With almost 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S., it’s no surprise there are plenty of tools specifically catering to startups. To make sure you’re getting exactly the features you need, you may want to opt for tools that target smaller businesses rather than a general user base.

4 Top Tools for Small Businesses Just Starting Out

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of startups don’t make it to their first birthdays. Let’s give your business the best possible chance of bucking the trend!

Here are four tools that can set your brand-new venture up for success.

1. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a top tool for small businesses just starting out.

When you launch a business website, your traffic will be a flat zero. The quickest way to get off the starting block is to appeal to search engines.

With over 53% of all web traffic originating from organic search, a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can take you from zero to hundreds (or even thousands) of eager customers.

Yoast SEO has everything you need to optimize your business website for those all-important search engines. Every time you add a new page or post, you can use Yoast SEO to specify the keyword(s) that you want this content to rank for:

The Yoast SEO tool for small businesses.

Yoast will then provide actionable advice on how to optimize the web page for the specified keyword or phrase. In this way, Yoast SEO can increase your chances of scoring Google’s coveted number-one spot.

Features:

  • Readability and SEO analysis
  • Tools to optimize your Google previews
  • Automated technical SEO improvements
  • Ability to boost your branding with title and meta description templating
  • Full control over your site’s breadcrumbs

Pricing: The plugin is free, with a premium version available.

2. Mailchimp

Top tools for small businesses include the Mailchimp platform.

The number of email users is forecast to reach 4.6 billion by 2025, and those people are spending a lot of time in their inboxes.

According to Adobe, the average American spends over five hours a day checking their inboxes. This makes email marketing a powerful way to promote your startup.

You can use Mailchimp to design beautiful, engaging messages using a straightforward drag-and-drop editor. This is ideal if you don’t have access to a graphic designer or a programmer:

The Mailchimp email editor.

You can also use Mailchimp to create automated email campaigns. This can be a life-saver for busy small business owners, who may not have the time to send a personalized message to every contact.

Features:

Pricing: Various subscriptions are available, including a free plan that’s perfect for small businesses.

3. Google Analytics

The Google Analytics platform.

Google Analytics provides detailed insight into the people who are visiting your website. This can be invaluable for understanding your audience and the kind of content that generates the most engagement.

Armed with this information, you can fine-tune your marketing and advertising strategies, and optimize every part of your site to drive conversions:

The top tools for small businesses include Google Analytics.

Google Analytics can also reveal how people find your site (for example, via organic search or by following a referral link). You can then focus your efforts on the channels that are proving the most lucrative.

Alternatively, you might decide that it makes more sense to focus on the channels that are currently underperforming.

Features:

  • Custom reports
  • Event tracking
  • Site speed report
  • Site search tracking
  • Ecommerce tracking

Pricing: The core Google Analytics platform is free. There’s also a premium Analytics 360 subscription available.

4. Buy Now Plus

Buy Now Plus is one of the top tools for small businesses.


In 2020, worldwide ecommerce sales totaled $4.28 trillion. If you want to tap into this lucrative market, you should aim for a seamless shopping experience.

Buy now buttons can be powerful tools for providing a stress-free purchasing journey and boosting your sales. Today, these simple-but-effective buttons are widely used by some of the biggest companies in the world, including Amazon:

A buy now button on the Amazon website.

If you want to learn from Amazon’s success, you may want to take a look at Buy Now Plus. You can use our free service to quickly and easily create an Amazon-style buy now button:

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

You can then deploy this button across multiple platforms. This includes all of your social media accounts and your email marketing messages.

Features:

Pricing: You can sign up for free. Note that Buy Now Plus charges a minimal 2% fee for each sale.

Conclusion

Starting a new business is never easy. However, the right tools can help you secure those all-important first customers and sales, and set your business on the path to success.

If you’re not sure where to start, let’s quickly recap our top four tools for small businesses that are just starting out:

  1. Yoast SEO: Make sure your site is appearing in relevant search results with this free WordPress plugin.
  2. Mailchimp: Use a popular mailing platform with a focus on automation that is perfect for the busy small business owner.
  3. Google Analytics: Get insight into your audience and learn how to drive more people to your site with this widely-used analytics service.
  4. Buy Now Plus: Ensure that the purchasing process feels effortless by creating buy now buttons for your website, social media accounts, and email marketing campaigns.

Do you have questions about any of the tools mentioned on this list? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Start Your Own Affiliate Marketing Program (In 3 Steps)

It might seem like influencers are everywhere these days. However, you're not just seeing things – working with these representatives is a popular and effective way to promote a brand.

You might be wondering how to leverage this power by starting your own affiliate marketing program.

Fortunately, the process doesn't have to be difficult. By following a few best practices and focusing on the essential elements, you can build a profitable affiliate program for your brand.

In this article, we'll cover a few reasons you might want to consider starting an affiliate marketing program. Then we'll show you how to create your own in three simple steps. Let's get to it!

Why You Might Want to Start an Affiliate Marketing Program

An affiliate marketing program is a network of influencers. You connect with respected people within your niche, and they promote your products to their followers. In return, you pay them a commission from any resulting sales.

There are many benefits to running an affiliate program. For one thing, it's a simple way to spread the word about your products. You also don't have to pay unless a sale is made, so using influencers is cost-effective.

Influencers also get a lucrative deal. On top of commissions, affiliate links can be a passive and flexible income stream.

That means these marketers can promote your content even if they've shifted to remote work. Additionally, the influencer's audience might appreciate an informed recommendation.

With advantages for all parties, it's no wonder that affiliate marketing is a booming business. Statistics show that this market is expected to reach a value of nearly $8.2 billion by 2022. That means getting started now will be an investment in your brand's future.

How to Start Your Own Affiliate Marketing Program (In 3 Steps)

We'll now use this simple guide as a kickstart for affiliate marketing. If you're interested in promoting your business with affiliate marketing, chances are you already have a website up and running.

If not, you'll need a basic WordPress site ready before you get started with the Easy Affiliate plugin, which we'll be using in this tutorial.

Step 1: Install and Activate Easy Affiliate

Starting an affiliate marketing program can be a bit complex. It can be hard to juggle links, payments, and ads.

That's why we highly recommend you use an affiliate program management product, such as Easy Affiliate, to take care of everything for you:

Easy Affiliate homepage.

Easy Affiliate enables you to host your affiliate program on a WordPress site. It's a simple way to integrate referral marketing infrastructure into your page.

Some other powerful features that you'll unlock with Easy Affiliate include:

  • Detailed progress reports to help you perfect your approach
  • Email marketing to spread the word about your program
  • One-click payouts to make commissions easy for you and your influencers

Additionally, Easy Affiliate doesn't charge any transaction fees. Once you purchase your plan, there are no additional hidden costs. The only per-transaction fee you'll pay is to PayPal, which the plugin uses to process payments.

The program also carries a 14-day money-back guarantee, so it's safe to give it a try if you're on the fence.

First you'll want to decide on your pricing plan. The options are Basic, Plus, and Pro. We suggest starting with Basic if you're new to affiliate marketing. However, Plus and Pro might also be worth considering if you have a few sites.

After you've made your choice, download Easy Affiliate. Be sure to grab your license key as well, because you'll need it to receive crucial plugin updates. Then install and activate the plugin.

You might also want to take some time at this point to consider your strategy. Understanding the essential elements for affiliate beginners can set you up for success.

Step 2: Customize Your Main Settings

Before you get started, there are a few settings you'll want to adjust. We'll take you through the most important ones. However, you might want to thumb through Easy Affiliate's helpful articles for more information.

Let's begin with the basic settings. You can find them in your WordPress dashboard under Easy Affiliate > Settings. Your screen will differ slightly depending on your plan:

The main settings for Easy Affiliate.

If you'd rather use the built-in setup wizard, simply scroll down to the bottom of the page to find that option. You can also add elements such as your basic business info.

If you keep scrolling, you'll find an option to decide which pages will act as your affiliate pages. These pages will generate automatically when you add Easy Affiliate. However, you can also edit them from this area.

Next up, we'll take a look at the Commissions tab:

The Easy Affiliate commissions tab under settings..

Here you'll decide on your affiliate program commission structure.

You can choose to pay out commissions as a percentage of sales or as a fixed rate. Your payout settings are also in this tab. Feel free to take your time here – payments are essential for both you and your influencers.

If you want to add integrations, check out the Ecommerce and Integrations tabs. For example, you can set up one-click PayPal functions under Ecommerce.

Finally, head over over to the Advanced tab:

The Easy Affiliate advanced settings tab.

It has several useful fields, but we'll focus on the essentials for now. We encourage you to set up email notifications to keep affiliates in the loop.

Additionally, you'll need to adjust international settings if you work on a global level.

Step 3: Prepare Resources for Your Affiliates

Finally, let's get to the heart of your program: your affiliates! Supporting your influencers is the best way to help them succeed.

On top of showing them how to do things like accept credit cards without a website, you can also provide other resources.

Remain on the page from the last step. This time, navigate to the Affiliates tab:

The Affiliate tab for Easy Affiliates.

First up is Registration Type. This is where you'll determine whether affiliates can join automatically, will need to apply, or will need direct administrative approval.

For your first program, we recommend requiring an application. This will help you screen for the best candidates directly.

The Form Fields section enables you to decide what information you'll collect from influencers. You can also make it so that users are automatically added as affiliates – which is perfect if you've built your WordPress site solely for your program.

Finally, you can change the affiliate dashboard. We suggest that you take the time to add your brand's colors and a custom welcome message. Doing so is a simple yet essential part of any new website branding checklist.

Next up, we'll change gears. Easy Affiliate enables you to expand your brand with professional-looking links and banners. Go to Easy Affiliate > Creatives > Add New:

The creative creation screen for Easy Affiliates.

Simply fill in the fields to create your new link. If you'd like to add a visual element, choose Banner from the Type drop-down menu. You'll then see an option to upload an image.

Try to make several links and banners. This can help make your marketing varied yet consistent. Once you've made a few creative assets, you can provide them to affiliates so they can advertise your business in places such as their social media accounts.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing spending is on the rise. That means there's a lot of potential for using influencers to advertise your company. Fortunately, starting your own affiliate marketing program can be simple with the right tools.

In this article, we showed you three steps to begin your affiliate program:

  1. Choose and install a pricing plan from Easy Affiliate.
  2. Customize the main settings, such as the commission structure.
  3. Help your influencers succeed with a clear structure and dynamic assets.

Do you have any questions about starting your own affiliate marketing program? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Start a Membership Business (In 3 Steps)

If you sell products online, you can benefit from a strong, dedicated customer base. One of the best ways to do this is by creating your own membership site. However, you might not fully understand what that undertaking involves.

Fortunately, this format can be quite simple and accessible even to beginners. By understanding the basic format of a membership site and using the right tools, you can get your own business up and running in no time.

In this article, we’ll cover a few reasons you might want to start your own membership business. Then we’ll take you through three steps to help you begin with confidence. Let’s get started!

Why You Might Want to Start a Membership Business

A membership site is any website that has member-exclusive content. They make a profit by charging users to become members. One example of this kind of page is You Are Nourished by Lauren Gayfer:

An image of Lauren Gayfer's membership site, You Are Nourished.

Gayfer offers food-focused advice to help people live healthier lives. Her customers pay a membership fee to access the expert content and advice.

However, you can use a membership site to sell virtually any kind of content including physical items, online courses, podcasts, even a personal blog! As long as you have an audience that's interested in your content, the potential is nearly limitless.

You probably won't be surprised to know, then, that this model comes with a range of benefits. One of the major advantages is that running a membership site can enable you to be own boss and pursue your passions.

In addition to this, starting a membership business can put you in touch with other enthusiasts in your niche. Membership sites can be a great way to build an online community and network with like-minded individuals.

Finally, for business owners there's one obvious benefit: profit. Membership sites can be extremely lucrative. For example, a recent study showed that 85% of people are willing to pay for a dating membership that fits their needs. Moreover, nearly a quarter of respondents are willing to pay over $25.

For all these reasons and more, membership sites are an effective way to do what you love and make a living from it.

How to Start a Membership Business (In 3 Steps)

Starting a membership site can be a great way to make money, and it doesn't have to be complicated. The steps below should give you a general idea of how to get started.

Most importantly, you'll need a basic WordPress website set up before you begin.

Step 1: Choose a Profitable Niche

A niche is your area of focus. This is the field in which you'll offer expertise or products. With so many options available to your customers, it's a good idea to fully embrace your niche right from the beginning.

We highly recommend choosing a focus that you have a real passion for. This will make it easier to produce the large volumes of high-quality content that members may expect. However, there are other considerations as well.

It's important to consider how profitable your niche is. Even if you love something and put out stellar content, you'll need an audience that's willing to pay for it. A smart way to gauge interest is to see how many affiliate programs exist for your niche.

Moreover, it's also important to set yourself apart from competitors in your niche. Try to think of why a customer should choose your membership site over another.

For example, the popular code-learning site Codecademy offers a membership model based on computer languages. However, its landing page also emphasizes how the service will help users with the learning process:

The Codecademy membership site home page.

Codecademy also offers value in terms of user growth. This service offers multiple different coding languages. So, a user doesn't have to find a new membership site once they complete a course.

Also, consider going with a niche that is fairly broad and can be easily scaled up. Doing so may provide opportunities for business growth and increased profits in the future.

Step 2: Establish Your Membership Plans

Once you've chosen your niche, you can start thinking about your membership offerings. Most membership sites offer several pricing plans in different tiers. This system gives your audience the option to pay more for additional content.

It can also be helpful if your niche is skill-based. This is because you'll be able to target different people based on their expertise.

Alternatively, you might create tiers based on how long users will gain access to your content. The piano learning program Pianu demonstrates this approach with its pricing plans:

Pricing tiers for the membership site Pianu.

Multiple membership plans also enable you to cross-sell and upsell. As long as you don't overwhelm your audience, more tiers can mean more profit potential.

Nevertheless, a freemium model can be equally powerful. With a freemium site, you provide some of your content free of charge. Other content is placed behind a paywall.

Free content can give interested customers an idea of what your membership site is like. If you're not ready for multiple pricing plans, consider offering only one that includes a freemium element.

However you decide to organize your plans, the most important part is also the hardest: setting a price. The aim is to strike a balance between good value and healthy profits, which isn't always easy. Try keeping the anchoring effect in mind to find the perfect balance.

Step 3: Install and Set Up MemberPress

While our Buy Now Plus tool can help you accept online payments without a dedicated page, you'll also want to download a tool that can help you to set up your site for members. Fortunately, there's a powerful WordPress plugin that makes this easy – MemberPress:

The MemberPress homepage.

MemberPress is the all-in-one solution for starting your membership site business. You'll have access to all the infrastructure you need, including:

  • Fine-grained control over who has access to what content
  • The ability to sell everything from online courses to digital downloads
  • A long list of integrations to help you leverage your favorite tools

MemberPress is also user-friendly. There's no need to worry if you're not a tech whiz – that won't stop you from starting an excellent membership site business.

First, you'll need to choose your pricing plan. Each option has different features and limitations, so we recommend you read through each one closely.

Afterward, you can download the plugin, then install and activate it on your WordPress website. When the program is ready, there are a few main steps that you may want to take care of first, such as:

  • Establishing a payment method
  • Adding restricted access rules
  • Creating a registration page

For more information on how to perform these tasks, we highly recommend following the MemberPress setup guide. This document can help you start your membership site business in as few as five minutes. If you need any additional help, we recommend checking out WP Tech Support for all your support needs.

Conclusion

Starting a membership site business can seem like an overwhelming task. Between the technology involved and the planning required, you might feel like it's too much to keep track of. Fortunately, you can simplify the process by taking the right approach.

In this article, we covered three steps to help you get started with a membership website:

  1. Select a niche that is both enjoyable and profitable.
  2. Lay out your membership plan structure.
  3. Choose powerful software such as MemberPress to equip your website.

Do you have any questions about starting a membership site business? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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4 Tips From Successful Small Business Owners

Many people dream of becoming their own boss. However, with 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S., your new venture will likely face some stiff competition.

By making smart decisions early on, you can give your business the best possible chance of finding a place in today’s crowded market.

Regardless of your entrepreneurial idea, there are several universal best practices that can set you up for success.

In this post, we’ll share four tips from successful small business owners. We’ll look at how to drive more customers to your website, reduce those sky-high cart abandonment rates, and even explore how your closest competitors can actually help your business succeed. Let’s get started! 

1. Prioritize Customer Support

Customer service is the direct connection between you and your customers. Get it right, and you’ll have no problem transforming one-time buyers into loyal repeat customers.

When it comes to delivering five star customer service, speed is everything. According to research, 66% of shoppers state that valuing their time is the most important factor in customer service. In fact, when they reach out for help, 82% of consumers expect a response in ten minutes or less. 

If you’re going to meet these expectations, it’s vital that you make customer service a priority. However, as a busy business owner, it may not always be feasible to respond to support requests immediately, especially if you don’t have a large customer service department. 

If the ten-minutes-or-less rule feels impossible, a chatbot may be the answer. With the help of a bot, your customers will have instant access to support at any time of the day or night. 

These bots can be a lifesaver for overstretched small businesses, but they also appear to be popular among consumers. According to research, over 67% of shoppers used a chatbot in 2019. 

There are various WordPress chatbots to choose from, including the Tidio plugin. This popular chatbot is customizable, so you can update its User Interface (UI) to reflect your company’s branding:

Many small business owners choose to use a chatbot plugin.

Alternatively, you can create your own chatbot. This may sound complex, but there are services to help you build your bot, including the Botsify platform and HubSpot’s marketing plugin:

The HubSpot WordPress plugin.

Self-help resources can be another way to provide around-the-clock support. Online documentation, FAQs, knowledge bases, and video tutorials are all popular self-help methods.

2. Learn From Your Customers

No matter how much time and effort you invest into your small business, there’s always room for improvement. To keep moving forward, you'll need to be willing to learn from your customers.

This may involve asking consumers for their feedback. Wherever possible, it’s smart to integrate these feedback requests into your normal workflows. For example, you might use your email automation software to request a product review every time a customer makes a purchase. 

Some customer-focused tools can even request feedback automatically. For instance, it’s not uncommon for chatbots to ask the customer to rate their interaction when they try to exit the chat window. This can generate valuable information, which you can then use to improve your small business. 

However, this information can be biased. Humans are subconsciously influenced by social conventions, and may tailor their feedback to align with the expected response. 

For this reason, you may also want to monitor your audience using a tool such as Google Analytics. This can provide an insight into subconscious customer behavior, and how users respond to your content and campaigns:

Many small business owners use a tool such as Google Analytics.

By deploying these two techniques simultaneously, you can gain a deeper understanding of your target audience. This is essential for improving the overall customer experience and optimizing your business website.

3. Spy on Other Small Business Owners

Chances are your business has several close competitors. While these organizations may feel like the bane of your existence, they can also be a valuable learning tool. 

With over 40% of revenue for most stores originating from organic traffic, it’s important to get your SEO right. You can set yourself up for SEO success by using a tool such as Keyword Explorer to discover the terms your competitors are ranking for.

You can then analyze those high-performing keywords and identify any that are relevant to your business:

The Moz Keyword Explorer tool.

By targeting these keywords, you may be able to improve your search engine rankings.

Backlinks are another valuable way to boost your traffic and secure extra sales. You can identify competitor content that has generated lots of backlinks using a tool such as Link Explorer:

Link Explorer can be a useful tool for small business owners.

This can help you pinpoint topics that generate the most buzz. If you can produce similar content to a higher standard, then you stand a good chance of earning valuable backlinks.

Once you’ve refined your SEO and content marketing strategies, it’s time to turn your attention to social media. With over 2.7 billion monthly active users, Facebook can be an effective way to reach new customers.  

If you’ve created a Facebook page for your small business, you’re off to a good start. However, it’s not enough to simply post content and hope for the best. It’s also important to identify the days and times your customers are online, and the content that generates the most engagement.

You can use Facebook’s Pages to Watch to record when your competitors post, how often they post, and the subsequent engagement. You can then use this data to create a more effective social media strategy, without having to learn through trial and error.

4. Simplify the Purchasing Process

Cart abandonment rates are a serious problem for online businesses. Some industries even report a 96.88% abandonment rate! There’s also evidence to suggest that some customers may fill their baskets with no intention of completing the purchase, making it the digital equivalent of window shopping

This is where buy now buttons come in. These simple-but-effective buttons completely eliminate the add to basket stage, and whisk the customer directly to the checkout. This gives the consumer less time to reconsider their purchase, which is great news for your conversion rates:

Am example of a Buy Now button.

You can create a range of high-converting buy now buttons using our free Buy Now Plus service.

To create your first buy now button, just register for a free Buy Now Plus account. If you already a existing Stripe account, you'll be prompted to connect the two accounts in the sign up process. If you don't have Stripe yet, you can automatically create a new one during the signup process.

Then, just create your buy now first button to publish on your online store, website, or even your social media platform. One of the best things about Buy Now Plus is that you don't even have to run a website to use it!

Conclusion 

Launching a new business isn’t easy, and the line between success and failure can be fine. However, with the right tools, techniques, and know-how, you can achieve start-up success.

Let’s quickly recap four tips from successful small business owners: 

  1. Prioritize customer support by using chatbots.
  2. Learn from your customers by requesting feedback.
  3. Spy on other small business owners by doing keyword research.
  4. Simplify the purchasing process by using Buy Now Plus.

Do you have any questions about how to grow your small business? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Keep It Simple and Keep Your Customers (3 Tips)

In today’s always on, always connected world, you have more opportunities than ever to communicate with your customers. However, you also have more chances to overwhelm and even alienate your target audience.

With the typical internet user suffering from information overload, you may be able to stand out from the crowd by doing less. By stripping your marketing down to its essentials, you can help even the most overwhelmed shopper make a smart purchasing decision and inspire customer loyalty. 

In this post, we’ll discuss why keeping it simple may be the key to retaining your customers. We’ll then share three tips on how to do less while achieving more. Let’s get started! 

Why Keeping It Simple May Be the Key to Retaining Your Customers

When trying to appeal to today’s tech-savvy consumer, more isn’t always better. There’s a misconception that the more content you provide, the greater your chances will be of holding the customer’s attention.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that a constant stream of marketing campaigns is the only way to grow your audience. However, this may not always work.

For many shoppers, the sheer amount of online content can be completely overwhelming. If you bombard people with even more information, you may be putting them off rather than drawing them in.

With this in mind, it makes sense to focus on decision simplicity. This is where you provide your customers with just enough data to make an informed purchasing decision – and no more.

For people who are already feeling overwhelmed, this can make your business far more appealing than a competitor who is pumping out content 24/7. 

How to Keep It Simple and Keep Your Customers (3 Tips)

While it’s tempting to try and wow the customer, information overload is a very real phenomenon. By taking a less-is-more approach, you can cut through all of the noise and help your audience make stress-free purchasing decisions.

Let's take a look at how to keep it simple and keep your customers, in three easy steps. 

1. Personalize the Customer Experience

When you’re trying to appeal to your entire customer base, it’s easy to overwhelm the individual with irrelevant information. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, you may want to focus on delivering a personalized experience.

This can help minimize the amount of content the visitor has to deal with, which can simplify the purchasing decision. 

If you want to provide a personalized shopping experience, it might make sense to offer customers a membership service. This is often essential for creating a complete record of the individual’s preferences, habits, and behavior.

All of this data is invaluable for delivering a highly personalized, highly persuasive customer experience.

There are a number of membership plugins available for WordPress, but MemberPress is leading option

Keep your customers, using a membership plugin such as MemberPress.

You can use this plugin to display different content depending on the shopper’s role and capabilities. This can be a quick and easy way to hide information that’s irrelevant to the individual, and prioritize the content that’s more likely to make them convert. 

Meanwhile, if you’re using the popular WooCommerce ecommerce platform, there are a number of add-ons that can help you tailor your website to each user. This includes WooCommerce Customer History:

The WooCommerce History add-on can help you keep your customers.

The Customer History add-on records how each visitor browses your store, and maintains a full purchase history log. You can then use this information to strip out all the unnecessary content and create a more streamlined purchasing journey. 

2. Simplify the Purchasing Journey

By reducing the number of screens the shopper has to navigate, you can reduce the amount of information they come into contact with. This is where a buy now button can be your secret weapon. 

These call to action (CTA) buttons promise to simplify the purchasing journey by transporting the customer directly to the checkout page. You can quickly and easily create this button using our free Buy Now Plus service.

Simply connect Buy Now Plus to your existing Stripe account, or create a new free Stripe account right in the Buy Now Plus setup process. Then you’re ready to create a wide range of high-converting buy now buttons:

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

After creating a button, you can even deploy it across multiple platforms. This helps you provide a consistent and seamless experience regardless of whether the customer is making a purchase from your website, social media accounts, or marketing emails.

By providing this kind of omnichannel shopping experience, you can make the purchasing process feel effortless and intuitive across multiple platforms. This can help you improve your customer retention rates. 

3. Segment Your Email Campaigns

According to Adobe’s Email Usage Study, Americans spend over five hours a day checking their emails. That’s a huge window of time where you could be promoting your products.

However, most businesses are fully aware of this opportunity, so your typical shopper is probably already drowning in marketing emails. If you add to the pressure, it’s unlikely to end well. The consumer might ignore your messages or unsubscribe from your email list.

Therefore, it’s important to minimize the number of times you contact the customer, while still using email marketing to drive conversions. The best way to achieve this tricky balancing act is by using segmentation. 

A segmented email campaign is where you send targeted messages to your subscribers based on their characteristics or actions, such as their purchase histories. This enables you to replace multiple generic messages with a single email that speaks to the individual shopper’s needs. 

Even if the customer is feeling swamped, highly-targeted messages can still spark a positive reaction. In fact, segmented email campaigns experience 74.53% higher click rates compared to non-segmented campaigns, and companies report a 760% increase in revenue from segmented emails.

All of the major email automation programs support segmentation. Many WordPress plugins also have built-in support for targeted emails, including the free MailPoet plugin:

The MailPoet plugin can help you send targeted emails.

MailPoet comes with an easy-to-use newsletter builder and a selection of responsive templates. It also enables you to send automatic WooCommerce emails.

For instance, you can welcome your new customers, send emails to shoppers who purchased a particular product, and reach out to those who abandoned their carts.

Conclusion 

When it comes to selling your products, the customer needs just enough information to make an informed purchasing decision – and not a single word more.

While it’s tempting to try to dazzle your audience, your typical internet user is already suffering from information overload and won’t thank you for adding to it.

Let’s quickly recap how you can avoid overwhelming your customers: 

  1. Personalize the shopping experience by creating a membership site with MemberPress.
  2. Simplify the purchasing journey by using buy now buttons with Buy Now Plus.
  3. Segment your email campaigns by using a WordPress plugin like MailPoet.

Do you have any questions about how to keep it simple and keep your customers? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How Stripe Protects You From Fraud (5 Ways)

Enabling debit and credit card payments is one of the most effective ways to sell products online. However, it can also put your business at risk for fraudulent purchases.

Fortunately, you can use a reliable ecommerce platform like Stripe to ensure that you and your customers are safe. Stripe has many checks and balances in place that can help prevent fraud and alert you to suspicious activity.

In this guide, we'll take a closer look at Stripe and how it works with Buy Now Plus. We'll then look at five ways Stripe protects you against fraudulent payments. Let's get started!

An Introduction to Stripe

Stripe is one of the most popular ecommerce payment platforms on the market. It offers a complete suite that enables you to receive payments, send invoices, track your business analytics, and access financing:

Stripe homepage

Stripe is also very flexible, and you can use it with most application programming interfaces (APIs). It has pre-built integrations with leading ecommerce systems, so you can easily adapt it to your business' needs.

Buy Now Plus actually runs on Stripe. That means when you use it, you get access to all of the fraud protection and secure payments Stripe offers. Additionally, Buy Now Plus has a 3% flat fee for transactions and is incredibly user-friendly.

To get rolling, all you need to do is click “Start Selling” on the homepage.

Buy Now Plus homepage

When you enter the signup process, you'll get the option to login to your existing Stripe account, or you can create a new free Stripe account, all from within the BNP signup interface.

Getting back to the point at hand… online payment fraud is unfortunately common. In 2020, ecommerce businesses worldwide lost approximately $17.5 billion due to fraud. In addition, experts predict this amount will increase to more than $20 billion in 2021. Therefore, it's in the best interests of your business to choose a platform with fraud protection, like Stripe.

How Stripe Protects You From Fraud (5 Ways)

As we've seen, Stripe helps protect your business against fraudulent payments. Next, let's look at the strategies that it uses to do this.

1. Stripe Chargeback Protection

Stripe Chargeback Protection can be an essential tool for ecommerce sites. This service can protect your business if a customer issues a payment dispute:

Stripe Chargeback Protection page

For example, a customer may claim that you have falsely charged them or overcharged them. Whether the claim is fraudulent or not, Stripe can cover the disputed amount and any associated fees.

As a bonus, Stripe doesn't require you to submit evidence against chargeback requests. This means that you won't need to waste time or money on resolving these issues.

Stripe can thus protect your business against fraudulent claims. In turn, it can prevent you from losing money on legitimate transactions. You can add Stripe Chargeback Protection by enabling it in your Stripe Checkout.

2. Device Characteristic Signals

Stripe has an in-built fraud detection service called Radar. It uses machine learning to analyze billions of data points on payments made across the globe. By doing so, it can identify potentially fraudulent transactions:

Stripe Radar feature

Device characteristic signals are some of the key data that Radar analyzes. This information refers to signals that come from customers' internet browsers, screens, and mobile devices.

This device characteristic data can tell Stripe what typical browsing behavior is for users. If a transaction and its associated signals fall outside of this behavior, it could signal fraudulent activity.

Radar collects this data continually in order to improve its understanding of consumer behavior. If it notices a high-risk fraudulent purchase, it blocks it automatically. With elevated risk payments, the payment goes into a review process for further investigation.

3. Activity Indicator Signals

Stripe's Radar also analyzes activity indicator signals. This data looks at how long users spend on pages, and how long they take to complete transactions or fill out the information in forms.

For example, a bot can navigate pages a lot faster than the average person, and often inserts card details with the copy-paste function. If Stripe picks up that a potential purchase is being processed too quickly, it can identify that it is a bot and not a real person.

Like with device characteristic signals, Stripe's Radar continually collects and analyzes activity indicator data. In this way, it can identify new patterns and protect your business from fraud.

4. Card Verification Code Checks

Cards have various details that a customer must provide in order to complete a purchase. One of these is the Card Verification Code (CVC), which you can find on the back of a debit or credit card. Customers need to enter this number when they complete a transaction, as well as the card account number and expiry date.

Radar protects against fraudulent purchases by automatically denying any transactions that have the incorrect CVC. Therefore, it can stop payments made from leaked card information.

5. Address Verification Checks

Stripe's Radar also verifies the address attached to a card account. It checks the data held by the card issuer and determines if the postcode and street address are consistent with the account details.

Radar automatically denies payments that don't have the correct postcode. It can thus prevent fraudulent payments with stolen cards.

It may also block legitimate purchases where the customer has entered the address incorrectly. You can opt-in or out of this verification check by enabling or disabling it on your Stripe dashboard.

Conclusion

Stripe is one of the most secure ecommerce platforms available. It has various checks and balances to prevent fraud and notify you of suspicious purchases. Moreover, Buy Now Plus is totally powered by Stripe.

Let's quickly recap the five ways that Stripe can protect your business:

  1. It prevents fraudulent chargebacks with Stripe Chargeback Protection.
  2. It identifies unusual browsing behavior.
  3. It analyzes activity indicators and identifies bots.
  4. It runs CVC checks.
  5. It performs address verification checks.

Do you have any questions about using Stripe with Buy Now Plus? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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5 Small Businesses You Can Start for Under $200

If you're tired of working for an employer, you may be looking to start your own business. However, this can be expensive, with many small businesses costing at least $2,000 to set up. If you don't have that kind of capital, you may be looking for more affordable options.

Fortunately, there are plenty of business ventures you can explore without spending a lot of money. You can tap into your creative side, share your professional expertise, or coach other people.

By identifying your skills and strengths, you can monetize them and start generating income.

In this guide, we'll take a look at five different small businesses that you can start for under $200. We'll also outline the skills and resources you will need for each one. Let's get started!

1. Consulting

Many companies hire experts to help them with their business strategies. If you have expertise in a particular area, like finance or law, you can offer your consulting services to different companies in your industry.

For instance, Bain & Company is an international consulting firm that works with organizations in various industries, including finance, healthcare, and retail:

Homepage of a consulting company called Bain & Company

In the United States, freelance consultants make an average salary of $78,922. Therefore, if you have the skills and knowledge to offer, you could potentially set up a very profitable business.

To get started, you'll need to set up a website to promote your services. WordPress equipped with a membership plugin is a great option.

You'll also have to spend some money on a domain name and web hosting service. However, many hosting companies offer very affordable plans for first-time buyers.

2. Tutoring

Tutoring can be a lucrative business if you're qualified in a particular field. For example, you could teach a foreign language to students or professionals.

Tutors make an average of $18 per hour. However, if you have a degree you may be able to charge much more.

To get started, you can sign up with an established tutoring company, such as Tutor.com:

Homepage of tutoring website Tutor.com

You could also create your own website to advertise your services. Remember that you'll need to pay for a domain name and a hosting service to keep it running.

As a tutor, you can create your own lesson plans and host your lessons online or in person. You don't need a large investment to set up this business, and you can purchase additional resources like textbooks as your company grows.

3. Freelancing

Freelancing is one of the most flexible businesses you can start. Rather than working for one company, you can deal directly with different clients and work on your own terms.

There are many freelancing options, including writing, blogging, graphic design, programming, and working as a personal assistant. You can also draw upon your skills and experience from previous jobs .

Freelancers make an average of $21 per hour. However, if you are an expert in your field, you may be able to charge much higher rates.

There are various ways to find jobs as a freelancer. For instance, you can join an established freelancing marketplace like Fiverr:

Fiverr homepage

Alternatively, you could try to source your own clients through advertising and reaching out to your personal network. You might also want to set up a LinkedIn account and pitch your services to potential clients.

4. Selling eBooks and Other Digital Products

If you have writing talents and great ideas, you could make money by publishing ebooks or other digital materials. You can write in any genre, from short novels to travel guides, depending on your interests.

As the creator, you can set your own prices for your ebooks. In 2020, customers purchased more than 191 million ebooks in the United States, so there's a large market for this material:

The eBooks homepage

Creating and selling ebooks doesn't have to be expensive. You can create the template for free through an application like Canva. Then you can approach publishers or use a self-publishing service like Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing.

Alternatively, you could sell your digital products on your site. We recommend using our Buy Now Plus service to add high-converting buy now buttons to your product pages:

The Buy Now Plus homepage

Our program is free to use and very easy to install. Moreover, Buy Now Plus is powered by Stripe and charges a flat 3% fee on your transactions.

If you want to maximize your ebook sales on the cheap, you might want to consider setting up an affiliate program. To do this, you can use a plugin like Easy Affiliate, which helps you create a self-hosted affiliate program and manage your affiliates from a user-friendly dashboard.

5. Fitness Coaching

If you love fitness or have professional accreditation, you could create an online fitness program. For example, you could upload videos of yoga routines and workouts:

The Glo fitness website homepage

At the end of 2019, the online fitness market was worth approximately $6 million. Analysts predict it will grow in value to $59 million by 2027, so there's an opportunity to make significant profits in this industry.

An effective way to make money from your online courses is to build a fitness membership site.

With this type of site, you can upload instructional videos and customize your subscription settings so that only paid members can access this content. Additionally, you can offer a discounted or free trial period to attract new business.

Conclusion

Starting your own business doesn’t need to cost a fortune. By capitalizing on your existing skills and interests, you could quickly set up a small business and start making money.

Let's recap our main ideas for starting a business for under $200:

  1. Offer your consulting services to other companies.
  2. Give online lessons to students and professionals.
  3. Freelance in your area of expertise, such as web design and photography.
  4. Write e-books and sell them on your site, using Buy Now Plus.
  5. Create an online fitness program and set up a membership site.

Do you have any questions about starting your own business? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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Join the Great Resignation (Start Your Ecommerce Business in 3 Steps)

In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a record number of resignations. You may dream of joining the great resignation, but quitting your job is never a decision to take lightly.

Fortunately, there is an industry that’s going from strength to strength. By starting your own ecommerce business in 2021, you can finally become your own boss without feeling like you’re taking a massive gamble.

In this post, we’ll look at why more people are quitting their jobs than ever before. We’ll then show you how to start your ecommerce business in three easy (and affordable) steps. Let’s get started!

An Overview of the Great Resignation (And Why You May Want to Join It)

The number of people quitting their jobs is on the rise. There are many reasons why so many employees are joining the great resignation, including burnout.

While exhaustion has always been an issue within the workforce, 67% of employees feel that burnout has worsened over the course of the pandemic. For tired and overworked employees, a change of career may seem like the perfect solution. 

The seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired many people to re-evaluate their lives, including their jobs. The historic rise in resignations could signify that employees are taking actionable steps to improve their work situation. 

Whatever the reasons for it, this trend shows no signs of slowing down. The job site Monster reports that 95% of US employees are currently considering a career change. If you’re one of these people, then it may be time to start your own ecommerce business. 

While the pandemic forced many physical stores to close their doors, it also sparked an online shopping revolution. In 2021, over 2.14 billion people are forecast to purchase goods and services online. That’s a lot of potential customers for your new venture.

In fact, with the global population expected to reach 7.87 billion people in 2021, these figures suggest you could be promoting your online products and services to around 27% of the world’s inhabitants. 

If you already run a website, you could add ecommerce functionality to your existing content. For example, if you run a successful membership site, you might consider creating a members-only store. This can be a way to monetize your audience and turn all of your hard work into profit. 

Join the Great Resignation (Start Your Ecommerce Business in 3 Steps)

According to Microsoft, 41% of people plan to change jobs in 2021. If you’re eager to join them, then starting your own ecommerce business may be the answer. Here’s how to become your own boss in three easy steps.

Step 1: Find Your Niche

Running an ecommerce business offers many opportunities, but there’s also lots of competition. With more and more online stores opening every day, you may get the best results by focusing on a specific niche. 

Choosing a niche immediately reduces the competition and gives you a stronger brand identity. In particular, it helps differentiate your venture from ecommerce giants such as Amazon, which already excels at being all things to all people:

The Amazon ecommerce site.

By promoting products that have huge appeal to a very specific audience, you can often achieve more conversions and a higher Return On Investment (ROI). With this niche approach, you can also tailor every part of your business to speak to the deep needs of your target audience

If you don’t already have a niche in mind, then the next step is identifying some products that you’re passionate about.

By specializing in items that you’re genuinely interested in, you can tap into an authentic drive and enthusiasm that will influence your business. For example, this passion can enhance your marketing and advertising campaigns.

While it’s a good idea to keep your business tightly focused, it’s important to find a big enough niche to generate healthy revenue.

Here, you can use tools such as Google Trends to evaluate the level of interest in the products you’re considering stocking:

The Google Trends dashboard can help you join the great resignation.

When crunching these numbers, keep in mind that you’ll want to grow your business over time. This means there should be enough interest to support your future expansion. 

Step 2: Create a Business Plan

A business plan is a written document that defines what your ecommerce business is, the activities it’ll perform, and its core objectives. It also details how you’re going to achieve those aims. 

By creating a business plan now, you can verify that your grand idea has the potential to be a viable ecommerce company before you start pouring time and money into it.

This document can also help you secure funding without a proven track record if you're seeking external investment. 

Every business plan is different, but most documents start with an executive summary. This outlines your ecommerce business and its mission statement. 

Next, you’ll detail your products and pricing, how your business benefits the customer, and your Unique Selling Point (USP). If you’re focusing on a niche, this is the place to stress that you’re offering a specialist, focused service.

This is also the perfect opportunity to demonstrate a deep understanding of your target audience and prove the demand for your products.

Even if this document is for internal use only, it’s a good idea to include a section on financial planning. This can help you budget and balance your cash flow. Otherwise, you risk negative cash flow completely derailing your operation.

3. Generate Buy Now Buttons

It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that your new ecommerce venture requires a website. While many successful businesses do operate an online store, this isn’t a necessity. 

Designing, developing, and launching a digital shop requires a significant amount of financial investment. This includes purchasing web hosting, securing a domain name, and potentially even hiring specialist designers and developers.

If you want to minimize your running costs, then you can operate an entire ecommerce business and sell anything from anywhere, thanks to Buy Now Plus:

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

You can use our free online service to generate a wide range of buy now buttons. Buy Now Plus operates on top of the popular Stripe payment gateway, so you can even accept credit card payments without an online store:

The Stripe checkout can be useful tool for joining the great resignation.

After creating these buttons, you can post them to any location that accepts text, including all major social media platforms.

You can even sign up for an email automation service such as ActiveCampagn, and run email campaigns featuring your buy now buttons.

Conclusion

Quitting your job is never a decision to take lightly. However, if you’ve always dreamed of running your own ecommerce business, then now may be the perfect opportunity. 

Let’s quickly recap how to launch your own ecommerce venture and join the great resignation:

  1. Find your niche.
  2. Create a business plan.
  3. Generate buy now buttons, using a tool such as Buy Now Plus.

Do you have any other questions about how to start a successful ecommerce business? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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4 Ways Accepting Cash Can Cost Your Business

Statistics show that modern consumers overwhelmingly prefer to pay by card, yet millions of small businesses still only accept cash. As a result, these businesses are missing out on an estimated 11.8 million customers.

For many retailers, the decision to operate on a cash-only policy is based on the belief that it will save them money. They assume it will enable them to avoid hefty card payment processing fees.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. On the contrary, accepting cash can actually hurt your bottom line.

In this article, we’ll reveal four ways that accepting cash can cost your business money. Then we’ll discuss how you can avoid these risks by going cashless with the help of Buy Now Plus. Let’s get started!

1. It Can Lead to Revenue Loss

According to recent research, 73% of customers said they’d leave a store without making a purchase if there were no card payment terminal and they didn’t have cash on hand. This is especially significant now, given that people are carrying less cash than they were pre-pandemic.

Not only that, but nearly half of Australians feel inconvenienced if they can’t pay by card. The upshot of this is clear: if you’re not offering a card payment option, you’re not giving your customers what they want.

This can indirectly impact your revenue, since customers who feel they’ve had a negative experience are less likely to act as brand advocates for your business. They might even leave a negative review, thus deterring other customers from doing business with you.

Even those customers who are happy to pay with cash tend to spend less when doing so, as they feel more connected to the purchase. Physically handing over cash feels a lot more “real” than just touching a piece of plastic to a payment terminal.

2. It Exposes You to Increased Security Risks

Accepting cash can expose you to additional security risks that may cost your business money. These include:

  • Accidental acceptance of counterfeit notes. Providing your staff with adequate training to detect and reject counterfeit notes takes time, which increases labor costs.
  • Internal theft. Accepting cash and holding it on your premises puts you at risk of internal theft by your team members.
  • Change scams. Some customers may attempt “change scams”, in which they try to confuse you or your staff into giving them more change than they’re entitled to.
  • Break-ins/robberies. Holding cash makes your premises a more attractive target for burglars. This doesn’t just put you and your staff in physical danger; it also exposes you to significant financial risks.

Aside from the above. you may also have to spend more money on security-related costs, such as:

  • Theft-prevention measures. This includes CCTV, alarms, theft prevention officers/security guards, etc.
  • Courier costs. Cash deposits of large amounts need to be handled securely. In many cases, this means paying a secure courier to transport it safely to the bank.
  • Higher insurance costs. Handling cash may increase your business' insurance premiums.

Not accepting cash payments minimizes the above risks or avoids them completely. A recent report shows that the risk of robberies decreases with the use of digital payments.

3. There Are Hidden Costs of Handling Cash

The idea that accepting cash is cheap is a myth. Many business owners think that accepting card payments is expensive. However, the reality is that handling cash costs a lot more.

Credit card processing fees typically range from 1–3%, whereas cash handling costs around 5–15%, according to research from IHL Group. These hidden costs of cash handling come from:

  • Higher labor costs. Labor is one of the biggest costs of handling cash. Employees must spend time giving out change, calculating floats, keeping records, and performing other banking-related tasks.
  • Working capital tied up in business cash floats. This could be reduced significantly if transactions were handled electronically.
  • Administrative errors. Humans aren’t perfect – we all make mistakes from time to time. Unfortunately, simple administrative errors can cost your business money.
  • Bank fees for cash deposits. Some banks charge business customers fees for large cash deposits.

These costs quickly add up. However, once again, you can avoid all of them by offering digital payment methods instead of cash.

4. It Leads to Operational Inefficiencies

Finally, accepting cash can also lead to operational inefficiencies that eat into your potential profits. For example, dealing with cash at checkout takes much longer than processing contactless transactions.

This can lead to longer lines and limit your ability to serve as many customers as possible – and fewer customers served means fewer sales.

If you don’t have enough change on-hand in your store, you might have to temporarily close the store (or at least, leave it understaffed) while you go out to get some. In the time you’re closed, you might miss out on potential sales.

How to Go Cashless Using Buy Now Buttons

Businesses can avoid the drawbacks of accepting cash by going cashless. However, if you’re a small business owner, the prospect of implementing cashless payment technology may seem a little daunting.

Don’t worry – it’s not as complicated or costly as you might think.

If you want to start accepting digital payments online, the simplest way to do so is by using Buy Now Plus to add a buy now button to your business website or social pages:

Screenshot of the Buy Now Plus homepage

Our Buy Now Plus service makes it easy to sell your products or services anywhere on the internet through stylish buy now buttons. It offers super-low fees, and only takes a few minutes to set up.

All you have to do is sign up for free. If you already have a free Stripe account, it will be connected during the signup process automatically. And if you don't have a free Stripe account, the signup process will automatically set you up with one.

Image of Buy Now Plus sign up page in which the user connects their account to Stripe

After that, you can create your buy now button and add it to any compatible platform using the provided embed code:

The 'create a new button' interface on Buy Now Plus

To start accepting card payments in-store, you'll most likely want to use a (POS) card payment terminal. There are many different POS suppliers on the market, so you'll have to shop around to find the best deal.

Most will quote you a basic rate for credit and debit card transactions. This might be a percentage of the transaction value (e.g. 2%) or a fixed rate.

Conclusion

Accepting cash might seem like a smart business move, but it can actually hurt your bottom line. Fortunately, going cashless isn’t as hard as you might think.

You can use Buy Now Plus to add buttons to your website or social pages, and start accepting payments online in minutes.

Let’s quickly recap the main ways accepting cash can cost your business money:

  1. It can lead to revenue loss.
  2. It exposes you to increased security risks.
  3. There are hidden costs of handling cash.
  4. It can lead to operational inefficiencies.

Does your business plan on going cashless this year? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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4 Ways to Increase Sales That Might Surprise You

When it comes to increasing your sales, you’ll find plenty of advice online. However, the key to grabbing people’s attention is often catching them off guard. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to achieve this when everyone’s using the same techniques.

The good news is there are many ways you can get creative with your marketing, or put a fresh spin on a familiar sales technique.

By stepping outside the box, you can immediately stand out from the competition, and perhaps even secure some additional conversions in the process.

In this post, we’ll share four ways to increase sales that might surprise you. We’ll also discuss tips for implementing each of these techniques, so you can be confident that you’re getting the most out of your marketing activities. Let’s get started! 

1. Monitor Your Competitors on Social Media

With over 2.7 billion monthly active users, Facebook offers an opportunity to promote your products and services to a huge audience. Creating a Facebook Business Page is a great start, but it’s not enough to simply post content and hope for the best. 

To get the maximum return on investment (ROI), you should identify the days and times when your target audience is online. You may also want to look at the type of content that your audience responds most positively to. 

While you could learn from trial and error, you can get a head start by monitoring your closest competitors. Facebook’s Pages to Watch feature can record when your competitors post, how often they post, and their engagement:

Increase sales with Facebook's Pages to Watch feature.

You can then use this data to inform your own social media activities. For example, if content posted on Monday morning generates the most engagement, then it may make sense to publish your own content at this time. 

To start spying on the competition, head over to your Facebook Business Page and select Insights > Overview. Then scroll to the Pages to Watch section: 

Facebook's Pages to Watch feature.

Next, select Add Pages. In the popup, type the first page that you want to monitor and select it:

The Facebook Insights dashboard can help you increase sales.

You can add several brands to your watch list. When you're ready, click on Done. Facebook will now spy on these pages for you, and display all of their activities in your Insights dashboard.

2. Run a User Generated Content (UGC) Contest 

Running a contest is a great way to create buzz around your products. However, to get the maximum ROI, you may want to base your competitions around user generated content (UGC). This is content like product reviews and customer testimonials created by someone outside your business.

There are different ways you can put a competitive slant on UGC. For instance, you could challenge your customers to take the most creative photos featuring your products.

You could ask your social media followers to submit content based on a theme, such as photos of their furry friends on National Pet Day:

A UGC-focused contest.

Alternatively, you could post a photo and ask your followers to come up with a funny caption: 

An example of a caption contest.

This is already a great opportunity to interact with your audience. However, you can take this engagement to the next level by picking a shortlist of potential winners, and then asking your followers to vote by liking, sharing, or commenting on their favorite entries. 

This approach can transform your nominees into temporary brand advocates. That's because they'll probably encourage their friends and family to interact with your content in order to secure more votes.

This exposure and engagement can have a positive impact on your sales. To get started quickly, consider adding a plugin like RafflePress to your site. 

RafflePress plugin homepage

RafflePress makes it super easy to create and manage contests and giveaways. It has pre-built templates and a drag-and-drop builder, so you can quickly build your contest's landing page.

It also has fraud protection, so you don't have to worry about cheating. What's really great is that the free version of RafflePress includes a feature that helps you set up contest rules.

With paid plans, you get more features like email marketing and CRM integrations, viral sharing, polls and surveys, and image submission entries.

3. Generate Large Amounts of Content, Fast

With experts attributing over 40% of revenue to organic traffic, it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). Having a publishing schedule is an essential part of an effective SEO strategy.

Content may be king, but it can be difficult to publish a steady stream of new material. Thankfully, there are ways to quickly generate content without compromising on quality. 

In addition to running UGC contests, you could accept guest posts or partner with third parties who can provide you with valuable content in exchange for backlinks.

You could also collect interesting statistics on a subject matter related to your industry, and then publish them as a post.

Data-driven content can be quick to write, and people love to share it:

An example of a statistics blog.

Another option is to interview thought leaders and experts in your industry, then publish this content in multiple formats.

For example, you might post the video to your YouTube channel, include snippets in your podcast, or turn the conversation into an engaging article.

If you already have a library of content, it’s always worth looking for opportunities to refresh and republish old posts.

This might involve updating the information in an article, or adding new images. Putting a fresh spin on older posts can be quicker and easier than creating entirely new content.

4. Leverage the Power of Buy Now Buttons

Just because a customer adds an item to their cart doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a sale. Every step in the purchasing process is another opportunity for this person to change their mind and abandon their shopping basket. In fact, 69% of customers fail to complete the checkout process.

That’s where buy now buttons come in. These enable customers to jump straight to your checkout page, leaving them with less time to rethink their purchases:

Increase sales with a Buy Now button.

You can create these powerful calls to action (CTAs) using a flexible service such as Buy Now Plus. You'll also be able to post the same button across multiple platforms, including social media.

To get started, simply connect your Stripe account to the free Buy Now Plus service. You can then create a wide range of high-converting buy now buttons without having to write a single line of code:

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

Buy Now Plus provides everything you need to embed these buttons into your site, add them to your email marketing campaigns, and post them across social media.

For more information on how to drive conversions with buy now buttons, you can check out our complete guide.

Conclusion 

Creativity can change the way people see your brand, which is a huge benefit when you’re trying to make a powerful impression.

By putting a fresh spin on well-worn marketing techniques, you may be able to convince potential customers to choose your business over the competition.

Let’s quickly recap four unique ways to increase your sales: 

  1. Monitor your competitors on social media.
  2. Run a user generated content (UGC) contest.
  3. Generate large amounts of content, fast.
  4. Leverage the power of buy now buttons, using a service such as Buy Now Plus.

Do you have any questions about boosting sales by thinking outside the box? Ask us in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Get Customer Testimonials (3 Easy Ways)

Marketing and advertising are essential for raising brand awareness and securing sales. However, the modern consumer is naturally suspicious of everything that business owners have to say about their own products.

This is where customer testimonials come in. If a third party speaks highly about their experience with your business, then shoppers are more likely to pay attention – and maybe even act on that recommendation. 

In this post, we’ll explore what testimonials are and why they’re so prized by online businesses. We’ll then share three easy ways to generate all the testimonials you need to win over even the most suspicious customer. Let’s get started! 

An Introduction to Customer Testimonials (And Why They’re Important)

Consumer testimonials are recommendations from happy partners and customers who can confirm the value of your products and services. This customer feedback can take the form of lengthy case studies that are sometimes produced together by the client and the company:

An example of a customer testimonial.

In some cases, happy customers simply share their feedback. Many businesses pick their favorite reviews and present them as quotes on their sites and product listings: 

How to get more customer testimonials.

This third-party feedback can be a powerful tool for boosting your sales. According to a report from the Spiegel Research Center, people are 270% more likely to purchase a product that has reviews, as compared to a product that has none.

There’s also evidence to suggest that customer testimonials are more persuasive than any in-house marketing materials. In one study, TurnTo Networks discovered that 90% of consumers are more influenced by user-generated content such as testimonials than email marketing and search engine results.

Your bottom line is influenced by your total number of sales, but also your profit margins. If you ever need to increase your prices, customer testimonials might be the answer. In fact, data from Podium shows that 68% of customers are happy to pay up to 15% more for the same product or service if they’re confident that they’ll have a better experience. 

3 Easy Ways to Get Customer Testimonials

Positive testimonials could be the key to boosting your sales, securing new customers, and potentially increasing your prices. Here are three techniques for ensuring that your business gets the feedback it needs to thrive. 

1. Make It Easy for Customers to Leave Reviews

There’s no such thing as too much positive feedback. However, there is evidence that the first five reviews have the biggest impact on conversions. This means that you may experience an uptick in sales after just a handful of reviews.

You can use a WordPress plugin like WPForms to create a feedback form that's easy for customers to use. The plugin comes with several forms that work great for gathering feedback. One we really like is the survey form.

This form is available in the Surveys and Polls addon:

WPForms Survey Form settings

The template is pre-set, and includes fields like the Rating field and Paragraph Text field. You can even use conditional logic in these fields so that they appear only if a customer rates you below a set threshold.

2. Ask for Customer Testimonials

According to Bright Local, 76% of consumers are happy to leave a review – all you need to do is ask. To increase your chances of receiving positive reviews, it’s smart to approach the customer when their behavior indicates that they’re happy with their experience. 

If a client contacts you about renewing their subscription or leaves a positive comment on your Facebook page, that may be the ideal time to request a review. However, for busy business owners this kind of one-on-one interaction isn’t always possible.

Fortunately, there are ways to automate these requests. Many companies use email software to remind customers that they’ve recently made a purchase, and that you’d appreciate a review:

An example of a review request email.

There’s a chance that automatically contacting everyone may result in some dissatisfied customers leaving negative feedback. However, when it comes to reviews, quantity is key. 

Over half of consumers are more likely to purchase a product that has a large number of reviews and an average rating, compared to a product that has a small number of reviews and an excellent rating.

This suggests that it may be worth risking the occasional poor review, so long as it’s outnumbered by positive feedback.

If you do attract negative reviews, then we always recommend publicly responding to the person, and trying to bring their complaint to a positive conclusion.

If people see you interact with unhappy customers in a polite, helpful manner, they may feel confident that you listen to your audience and always strive to provide a good experience. This could have a positive impact on your sales.

3. Register With Popular Consumer Review Sites

When Canvas8 asked customers which sources they trust to provide honest reviews, third-party sites ranked second. Even when your audience is free to post reviews on your site, there's always the suspicion that you may be moderating this content in some way.

However, you have no control over third-party sites, which makes them a powerful tool for proving the quality of your products:

How to get customer testimonials via your Facebook Page.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to register your business with all of the major consumer review platforms. This includes Facebook, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and Google My Business:

Get customer testimonials for your Google listing.

Once you’re registered, we recommend monitoring these platforms carefully, as some consumer review sites highlight businesses that are responsive. This may earn you some additional reviews.

Since these review sites carry so much authority, it’s smart to show people all the platforms where your business is registered. Many developers have created plugins that make it easy to embed this third-party content on your WordPress website. This includes Reviews and Rating, which provides a widget and shortcode for your Google My Business content.

Reviews and Rating WordPress Plugin

Conclusion 

Customer testimonials are one of the most powerful forms of marketing. Research suggests that if you can secure as few as five positive reviews, you might experience an uptick in sales.

To help you set up a steady stream of positive testimonials, we’ve shared the following tips:

  1. Make it easy for customers to leave reviews, using a plugin like WPForms.
  2. Ask customers for testimonials by emailing them after they make a purchase. 
  3. Register your business with popular consumer review sites, such as Tripadvisor and Yelp.

Do you have any questions about how to secure more customer testimonials? Ask us in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Grow Your Profits With 3 Sales Tips From Neuroscience

As an online store owner, you’ll find plenty of advice on how to convince potential customers that your products are the best on the market. However, people don’t make purchasing decisions based on logic – they hit that buy now button due to an emotional reaction.

Thankfully, there’s an entire science dedicated to understanding the way people think and feel. By applying cutting-edge neuroscientific principles to your ecommerce site, you can create an experience where the customer feels compelled to make a purchase. 

In this post, we’ll discuss what neuroscience is and the role it can play in boosting your profits. We’ll then share three tips on how to leverage the power of the human brain in order to secure more sales. Let’s get started! 

An Introduction to Neuroscience (And How It Can Boost Your Sales)

There are various ways to gather information about your target audience. For example, you might ask customers for their feedback, perform interviews, or conduct a survey:

WPForms survey builder
With the WPForms survey builder, you can customize your customer surveys.

However, people have a tendency to seek approval by providing socially-acceptable answers. This can reduce the accuracy and usefulness of your data.

There are also many impulses, emotions, and motivations that happen subconsciously. Since your target audience isn’t aware of how these factors influence their decisions, they rarely feature in the input gathered from surveys and other popular methods of customer research.

This is where neuroscience can give you an advantage over the competition. Neuroscience is the multidisciplinary, scientific study of the brain and its impact on cognitive functions and behavior, including subconscious decision-making.

Essentially, it’s the study of how people think, which makes it a powerful tool for understanding your audience and what truly pushes them to convert.

Neuroscience teaches us that people make decisions emotionally. Armed with this information, you can optimize your marketing strategies in order to inspire an emotional reaction that will encourage conversions and maximize your profits

How to Grow Your Profits With 3 Sales Tips From Neuroscience

Sales is often referred to as an art, but it’s also a science. Using scientific principles in your business strategies can help you tap into powerful psychological and emotional cues.

Here are our top three tips for growing your profits using the power of the human brain. 

1. Become an Influencer 

Humans are wired to make decisions emotionally, and then attempt to justify those decisions with reason. According to Dan Hill in Emotionomics: “Emotions process sensory input in only one-fifth the time our conscious, cognitive brain takes to assimilate that same input.”

This means that the best way to close a sale is to trigger a positive reaction among your target audience.

Influential people tend to inspire more powerful emotional responses. However, this doesn’t mean you need to turn into an Instagram sensation or launch your own YouTube channel (although depending on your brand and your target audience, those things may help).

Instead, we recommend building a reputation as a trusted source by consistently creating useful content

A blog can be a great way to position yourself as an authority in your chosen field. Once you’re regularly publishing five-star content, you can use this to deepen your relationship with your audience.

Responding to blog comments is a good start, but it’s also smart to actively seek out online communities and platforms where your target audience already congregates. 

Different social media platforms appeal to different people. For example 80.9% of LinkedIn users are aged 24 or over. By contrast, 41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24. When you’ve identified which platforms your target audience prefers, you can post your content to those networks:

The LinkedIn social network.

By performing these simple actions, you can create the public perception that you’re a helpful, engaged, and approachable business. This can ensure that when your target audience does encounter one of your products or services, their initial reaction is a positive one. 

2. Encourage Impulse Purchases 

The average American spends more than $2,100 a year on impulse purchases. This spending peaks during the holiday season, when one in three purchases are spontaneous. 

Physiologically, humans are prone to buying products and services on a whim. However, cart abandonment rates are also high, with evidence suggesting that 69% of customers fail to complete the checkout process.

Although customers are psychologically primed to add items to their basket, it seems that they’re just as prone to changing their mind.

To capitalize on this psychological phenomenon, it helps to simplify the checkout process. By giving customers fewer opportunities to rethink their purchases, you can harness the full financial potential of impulse buying. 

This is where a buy now button can be your secret weapon. You can create high-converting buttons using a service such as Buy Now Plus, and then deploy these buttons across your website: 

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

You may even want to add your Buy Now Plus buttons across third-party platforms, using the provided sharing buttons and embed codes. This includes time-sensitive sites such as Twitter, where the additional pressure can further encourage impulse shopping.

3. Sell the Benefits, Not the Features

Many organizations fall into the trap of selling their products and services based on their features. However, as we've previously mentioned, decisions are initially influenced by emotions, not logic.

To trigger a stronger emotional response, it's important to focus on the benefits of your product.

Although benefits and features are related, they aren’t interchangeable. Features are what your product can do. For example, a security camera might automatically upload recordings to the cloud. But the benefit is what the customer can do with the product, such as keep their family safe:

The sales tips from neuroscience encourage you to focus on the benefits.

If you’re unsure which benefits to promote, you can first try to identify your audience’s pain points. Then, you can position your product or service as the solution.

To really tap into those emotional triggers, make sure you emphasize how much better the customer will feel after investing in your product and receiving the associated benefits.

Conclusion 

Neuroscience reveals that people initially make purchasing decisions based purely on emotions, and only later try to justify their choices with logic. By leveraging the power of this subconscious decision-making, you can create a persuasive, high-converting online store. 

To help grow your profits, let’s quickly recap three sales tips taken directly from neuroscience: 

  1. Became an influencer.
  2. Encourage impulse purchases, using a service such as Buy Now Plus
  3. Sell the benefits, not the features.

Do you have any questions about how to boost your revenue with the power of neuroscience? Ask us in the comments section below!

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How to Improve Sales With Social Media Content (4 Tips)

Social media represents a huge opportunity for any business owner. After all, there are over 2.7 billion monthly active Facebook users and 69.3 million Twitter users in the US alone. However, if you don’t plan your social activities carefully, it’s easy to let that opportunity go to waste.

Fortunately, there are tried-and-tested methods and tips proven to help improve your sales with social media content. By leveraging this advice, you can ensure that the time you spend on these platforms has a direct, positive impact on your profits.

In this post, we’ll discuss why social selling is more than simply posting your products across Facebook and Twitter. We’ll then share four actionable tips that you can implement today to maximize your profits. Let’s get started! 

An Introduction to Social Selling (And Why It’s Important)

Despite its name, social selling isn’t always about posting your products and services to social media. While it’s smart to keep your followers in the loop regarding new launches, discounts, and other product-related developments, this is only part of a successful social strategy. 

If you really want to smash your sales targets, we recommend using these platforms to build brand awareness and connect with prospects. You can also develop relationships with both new and existing customers by responding to their comments on platforms such as Twitter:

An example of a brand interacting with clients on social media

By actively engaging with your target audience in a positive and helpful way, you can increase the chances that yours is the first company that person considers when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Social selling can also be an effective way to keep existing customers engaged and encourage them to remain loyal to your business, rather than defecting to your competitors. 

How to Improve Sales With Social Media Content (4 Tips)

Social media has grown into a powerful marketing tool. If you’re ready to improve your sales, then here are our top tips for success:

1. Do Your Research

Today, there are countless social media platforms. With so many channels to choose from, it’s difficult to maintain a presence across every single site. 

To achieve the highest number of conversions, it’s smart to focus on the platforms where your target audience is most active. Some platforms are more popular with certain demographics. For example 41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24. By contrast, 80.9% of LinkedIn users are aged 24 or over.

If you’re unsure about your target demographic, you can learn more about the people who are visiting your site and purchasing your products using a tool such as Google Analytics:

The Google Analytics dashboard.

Once you know where your audience is spending the majority of their time, you can focus all of your efforts on those platforms. This should have the greatest impact on your sales.

2. Avoid the Hard Sell

While it may sound counter-intuitive, it’s a bad idea to focus solely on driving sales. If you treat social media as an advertising channel, then you’ll probably struggle to attract a following.

Instead, we recommend building your social strategy around sharing valuable content. Ideally, you’ll already have a company blog.

These posts are great material for your accounts, but you can also create content solely for social media, such as infographics that you post directly to Twitter, Facebook, and other popular sites.

You might also share the occasional third-party resource, such as informative blog posts written by industry experts. 

With social media, the clue is in the name. Therefore, it's a good idea to always look for opportunities to engage with your audience. This may involve liking and sharing customers' posts, answering questions, or responding to comments: 

An example of a brand engaging on social media.

All of these activities can position you as a helpful, valuable person to follow on social media. Then, when you do post purely sales-focused content, your audience should be far more receptive to your message. 

3. Partner With Relevant Influencers

An online influencer is someone who has a significant digital following. Similar to a traditional celebrity endorsement, an influencer can promote your business to their fans and followers.

This can be a very effective sales strategy, with around 34% of Instagram users admitting to purchasing something due to an online influencer:

An example of an influencer partnership, which may help improve sales.

The key to a successful partnership is finding the right influencer. Ideally, there will be an overlap between the person’s fanbase and your target audience.

In addition, when there’s a relevant link between the influencer and the content they’re promoting, you can capitalize on the assumption that they only promote products they genuinely like. This can further increase your sales. 

Although it’s easy to get star-struck by the large follower numbers of social media’s heavy hitters, it’s worth noting that micro-influencers often have higher engagement rates.

This is most notable on TikTok, where micro-influencers receive 17.96% engagement, compared to 4.96% for mega-influencers. If you can identify a micro-influencer who appeals to your target audience, then you may be on to a winner.

One great way to recruit and manage social media influencers is to start your own affiliate marketing program. There are several tools that allow you to do this easily. One of our favorites is Easy Affiliate, a WordPress plugin that works beautifully with all kinds of membership and ecommerce sites.

Easy Affiliate WordPress plugin homepage

4. Leverage the Power of Buy Now Buttons

Although it shouldn’t form the core of your social content, you’ll want to spend some time promoting your products and services. However, even if a follower decides to make a purchase, they’ll still need to click through to your store in order to start the process. 

This gives the customer plenty of time to change their mind. In fact, studies show that 69% of customers abandon their shopping carts. Therefore, it’s important that you simplify the purchasing process in order to encourage people to complete an order.

This is where buy now buttons come in. When you create a button using a flexible service like Buy Now Plus, you can post them across all major social media platforms:

You can improve sales by posting Buy Now buttons to social media.

Your followers can then access the checkout process directly from their favorite social networks.

To create your first buy now button, simply connect Buy Now Plus to Stripe, then follow the onscreen instructions:

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

We’ll also provide everything you need to post your buy now button across your social media networks. This includes dedicated Share to Facebook and Share to Twitter buttons. 

Conclusion 

Social media is a powerful platform for promoting your products and services. However, it’s important to use it wisely in order to maximize your conversions.

Let’s quickly recap four ways to improve your sales with social media content:

  1. Choose the right platform for your business, based on your target audience.
  2. Share valuable content and avoid hard selling.
  3. Partner with relevant influencers to reach more people.
  4. Add buy now buttons on your social media pages, using Buy Now Plus.

Do you have any questions about how to improve sales and engage with potential customers on social media? Ask us in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Sell Anything from Anywhere with Buy Now Buttons

As an online store owner, there are lots of different places you can promote your products. However, by default, customers have to navigate to your store to purchase the products featured in your social media posts, marketing emails, and other locations.

Here's where buy now buttons can be the secret to driving conversions. That's because they allow customers to jump straight to the checkout stage with the click of a button. Using these simple but effective call to action (CTA) buttons, you can sell anything from anywhere. You don't even need a website.

In this post, we’ll discuss why every business and online store can benefit from buy now buttons, and show you how to create one within minutes. Then we'll explore four places where you can use your new buy now button for maximum sales. Let’s get started! 

How to Create a Buy Now Button (And Why You Should)

Typically, whenever a customer wants to make a purchase, they’ll add that item to their basket and then navigate to your checkout page. Depending on how your store is set up, there may even be additional steps, such as creating an account and reviewing the items in their basket. 

Every step in the payment process is another opportunity for the customer to change their mind and abandon the purchase. This is where buy now buttons come in. These powerful button can reduce cart abandonment rates and drive conversions by allowing customers to jump straight to checkout:

An example of a buy now button on the Amazon website.

If you create these powerful CTAs using a flexible service like Buy Now Plus, you can post the same button across multiple platforms. In this way, you can transform external platforms into additional revenue streams and sell anything from anywhere. 

To create your first buy now button, all you have to do is register for a free Buy Now Plus account. If you already have a Stripe account, you'll be able to connect the two automatically in the sign up process. If you don't have a Stripe account, you'll automatically create a new one during sign up.

Once you're all set, go to your Buy Now Plus dashboard and select Add New:

How to sell anything from anywhere with Buy Now buttons.

You can now create a high-converting button by completing the form. When you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, click on Create:

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

On the main Buy Now Plus dashboard, find the button in question and click on the Share icon. This opens a little popup that contains everything you need to sell your items.

How to Sell Anything From Anywhere (4 Ways to Use Your Buy Now Buttons)

In 2020, ecommerce sales surpassed $4.2 trillion. With more people purchasing online than ever before, there’s huge potential to boost your profits. Here’s how you can seize this opportunity by posting your buy now buttons across your site and the wider web.

1. Add Your Button to Any Page or Post

You can add your Buy Now Plus button to any page or post using the supplied embed code. Many online stores choose to feature this button on their product pages, alongside their regular Add To Cart buttons. This gives customers the choice to continue shopping or jump straight to checkout. 

You can also add a buy now button to locations where you mention a specific product. For example, you might write a guide to using a new product or share five top picks for the summer. By providing easy access to a buy now button, you can encourage the reader to purchase the featured products: 

An example of how to sell anything from anywhere with Buy Now buttons.

In the Buy Now Plus popup, copy the embed code and then switch over to your WordPress dashboard. You can then navigate to the page or post where you want to feature this button. Open the page for editing, and create a new shortcode block:

How to sell anything from anywhere using the WordPress shortcode widget.

Now, simply paste the embed code into this block and save your changes. This buy now button will now appear on this page in the exact location specified by you. 

2. Feature Buy Now Buttons Across Your Website

To drive conversions, you may want to incorporate a buy now button into your site’s recurring elements. This enables customers to start the checkout process from any page:

Sell anything from anywhere by adding a Buy Now button to the sidebar.

You can achieve this by adding your button to a Text widget. Once again, copy the embed code, but this time navigate to Appearance > Widget in your WordPress dashboard:

The WordPress widgets dashboard.

You can now grab a Text widget and drag it to the area where you want to feature your button. Then select the Text tab and paste your embed code:

The WordPress widgets screen.

Switch back to the Visual tab. If you’re happy with your button’s appearance, you can save your changes. This button will now appear across your website. 

3. Post CTAs to Your Social Media

With over 2.7 billion monthly active Facebook users and 69.3 million Twitter users in the US, social media is a powerful platform for promoting your products. By posting your buy now buttons directly to social media, your followers can start the checkout process directly from their favorite networking sites.

This can also be a way to encourage impulse purchases. A customer who’s scrolling through their timeline might spot your product, complete with a convenient buy now button, and decide to make a purchase on a whim.

Our popup has sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Simply click on this button, and Buy Now Plus will auto-generate a post for your chosen platform:

A Buy Now link posted to Twitter.

However, there are dozens of social networks out there. That’s why we also provide a link that you can copy and paste into any social platform that accepts text input.

4. Include a CTA in Your Next Email Marketing Campaign

According to the 2019 Adobe Email Usage Study, Americans spend over five hours per day checking their work and personal emails. That’s five hours when you could be promoting your products. 

For example, you might email your entire list about an upcoming sale or recommend products based on the customer’s purchase history. If the recipient decides to covert, including a buy now button in your email can help nudge them over the finishing line:

An example of Buy Now buttons inside an email.

Our popup contains an email button that you can use to generate a message containing your buy now link. Alternatively, you can copy and paste the link directly into your next email campaign:

An example of a buy now link in an email.

Depending on your choice of mailing software, you might even be able to paste our embed code directly into your email. ActiveCampaign is one platform that we now allows embedding buttons (because we use it!).

For more information about whether your provider supports embed code, we recommend referring to their official documentation.

Conclusion

Platforms such as social media and email can be excellent places to promote your products. However, requiring customers to navigate to your store and then search for items isn’t going to deliver the best conversion rates. 

Fortunately, buy now buttons can be the key to selling anything from anywhere. Let’s quickly recap four places where you can use these powerful CTAs: 

  1. Add your button to any page or post.
  2. Feature buy now buttons across your website.
  3. Post CTAs to your social media.
  4. Include a CTA in your next email marketing campaign.

Do you have any questions about how to sell anything from anywhere with buy now buttons? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Accept Credit Cards Without a Website

Would you like to accept credit cards from your customers, but you don't have a website? No problem! As long as you have a social media account and a bank account, you can take credit card payments with Buy Now Plus.

In this post, we’ll discuss why accepting credit cards is crucial to running a successful business. Then we’ll show you how easy it is to use this payment method with Buy Now Plus. Let’s get started! 

Why It’s Important to Accept Credit Card Payments

Credit cards are the most popular payment method in the United States. If your business doesn’t accept card payments, then you could be alienating the majority of your audience and losing potential sales.

If your customers can't make a purchase using their preferred payment methods, they may go elsewhere. To maximize your sales, it’s important to support as many different payment methods as possible.

The method we always recommend prioritizing? Credit cards.

Many e-commerce sites accept credit card payments.

Despite the popularity of paying by credit card, some businesses may be reluctant to support card payments due to the associated fees. For every credit card transaction, you’ll have to pay interchange fees, assessment or service fees, and the payment processor’s markup.

These transaction fees can seem off-putting, particularly for small businesses and startups that may be operating on tighter budgets. However, if you don’t accept credit cards, you're shrinking your customer pool.

It’s far better to sacrifice a percentage of a successful sale than to lose out on that sale entirely. Plus, if your checkout process is more accessible, you're more likely to boost your profits, grow your customer base, and secure repeat sales.

How to Accept Credit Card Payments Without a Website Using Buy Now Plus

Buy Now Plus is a free service you can use to accept payments without purchasing and installing SSL certificates. You only get charged if you make a sale. And that charge is only 3% – super low compared to the industry standard for similar services, which is between 4% and 5%.

The best part is that it works right on top of the Stripe payment processor. That means to get set up, all you have to do is head to BuyNowPlus.com, and click the Start Selling button:

Buy Now Plus homepage

Clicking the Start Selling button will open the Getting Started form. If you already have a Stripe account, you'll be able to login and connect it to Buy Now Plus.

If you don't have a Stripe account, just enter your email and click Next to get your free account set up:

Get started with Stripe in Buy Now Plus

On the next page, create a password for your new Stripe account, and click Next:

create a free Stripe account in Buy Now Plus

In the next step, you'll secure your account by adding your cell phone number:

Secure your Stripe account in Buy Now Plus

You'll get a text with a special code, which you'll then enter for verfication:

Enter the code from your device in buy now plus

If verification is successful, you'll get a confirmation that your new Stripe account is secured. The confirmation will also include an emergency backup code you can use if your device is lost or stolen. You'll definitely want to copy that code and keep it in a safe place.

Once you've got your backup code stored away safely, click Next:

Stripe account is secured in Buy Now Plus

In this step, you'll give some basic information about your business. If your business doesn't have a physical address, just enter your home address, then click Next:

Tell us about your business in Buy Now Plus

Now you'll enter a few additional details about your business. The first field asks for your business website. But don't worry. You can enter your social media profile address if you don't have a business website.

Then enter a short product description and click Next:

Business details in Buy Now Plus

Now you'll choose a bank account where your payments will be deposited. First search for your bank in the search field. If it doesn't pop up, you can enter your bank's details manually by clicking the link at the bottom of the screen.

Once that's all set, click Next:

Select an account for Stripe payouts in Buy Now Plus

The next screen will verify that your bank account is linked to your new Stripe account. If everything looks good, click Next:

bank linked verification page in Buy Now Plus

In this step you'll enter your customer support details. One of these details is a “descriptor” that will appear on a customer's credit card statement to help them identify the charge.

For example, if your business name is ABC Plumbing, you could simply enter “ABC Plumbing” in this field. In the shortened descriptor field, you might enter just “ABC” or “Plumbing”.

Now you'll enter your business address and phone number. Again, just use your home address and cell number if that's what you use for business. Then click Next, and your Stripe account will be all set:

customer support details in Buy Now Plus

On the next page you'll configure your Buy Now Plus settings. Just make sure the form includes your name, email, and company name. Then create a password, and click Update:

Buy Now Plus account settings

That's it! On the next page, you'll be able to create your first button and start selling:

Create a new button in Buy Now Plus

After creating your button, you can add it to any compatible platform using the auto-generated embed code.

Conclusion 

Processing credit cards may sound daunting, but it’s also the preferred payment method for the majority of shoppers. If your business doesn't support credit cards, then you may struggle to make sales.

With Buy Now Plus, incorporating this popular payment method doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

Do you have questions about how to add credit card support to your business? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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How to Create a PayPal-Style Buy Now Button with Stripe (4 Steps)

Most modern payment gateways support PayPal-style buy now buttons. However, adding these powerful call to action (CTA) buttons to your website isn’t always a straightforward process.

Thankfully, there are tools that can help you create high-converting buy now buttons for your ecommerce store, social media platforms, or any other location where you want to drive sales.

If you opt for a user-friendly tool, it’s even possible to create an engaging CTA without having to write a single line of code.

In this post, we’ll show you how to create a buy now button using the popular Stripe payment gateway. We’ll also look at how to further optimize the checkout process by designing an information-packed Thank You page. Let’s get started! 

An Introduction to Buy Now Buttons (And Why They’re Important)

Payment providers such as PayPal and Stripe are hugely popular with merchants who want to offer customers a quick, easy, and secure way to purchase their products and services.

Supporting a range of payment methods is often essential for driving sales. After all, if customers can't send you a payment using their preferred method, they may go elsewhere!

To really drive conversions and reduce cart abandonment rates, it’s smart to support a range of payment methods, and to make these gateways easily accessible via a buy now button. This is a CTA that bypasses multiple steps in the traditional payment process, and typically takes the shopper directly to your checkout page.

Most payment gateways support these powerful CTA buttons. This includes PayPal, which provide a Pay Now button that enables customers to make a purchase in seconds: 

The PayPal demo.

Stripe also offers a similar payment request button. However, implementing both the PayPal and Stripe buttons is a multi-step process that requires you to write some code. 

At Buy Now Plus we believe that creating your buttons should be just as easy as using them. Thanks to our dashboard and Stripe integration, you can create a PayPal-style buy now button for Stripe with ease – and without code!

How to Create a PayPal-Style Buy Now Button with Stripe (In 4 Easy Steps)

Let’s see how easy it is to create a buy now button. We’re going to assume you already have a Stripe account. If you don’t, then you can register for one at the Stripe website.

Step 1: Connect Stripe and Buy Now Plus

To start, head over to the Buy Now Plus login page. You can then either log in or connect to Stripe: 

The Buy Now Plus login screen.

The Buy Now Plus wizard will then walk you through linking your account to Stripe. As part of the registration process, Stripe will ask you to provide a statement descriptor and shortened descriptor.

This information explains charges and payments on bank statements, invoices, and receipts, which can help you avoid chargebacks:

The Buy Now Plus registration process.

Stripe will also ask for some information about your business, and for a mobile phone number. This adds an extra layer of security to your account. 

After registering, you’ll be automatically redirected to your Buy Now Plus dashboard. You can then get started on your buy now button.

Step 2: Design Your Buy Now Button

To create your first button, select Add New. Next, you'll need to enter some text into the Terms and Description fields. This information will appear on your payment screen:

A Buy Now Plus payment screen.

Then you can decide whether these payments should be fixed or variable. For example, you might create a variable purchase button if you’re accepting donations, or if you’re implementing a “pay what you want” model. You can also specify the currency that you’ll receive payments in.

Next, choose the Stripe account where you’ll accept these payments, using the Stripe Account dropdown. You can access some additional settings by clicking to expand the Advanced Options section.

Here, you can set the text that’ll appear on your button, for example Buy Now or Pay with Stripe.  This is all you need to create a simple buy now button. When you’re done, click on Create.

Step 3: Create an Optional Thank You Page

If the customer is unsure whether the payment has been processed correctly, they may contact your customer service desk or send you a duplicate payment. To avoid confusion, you can create a Thank You page where customers will be redirected following a successful payment.

This page is also an opportunity to provide helpful information, including a summary of the customer’s order and their tracking code. This can improve the customer experience, which may put you in a stronger position to secure repeat sales:

A Thank You page, created using a WordPress plugin.

Buy Now Plus can automatically redirect the customer to a page of your choice following a successful payment. This can be any page or post that you create in the WordPress dashboard.

Step 4: Preview and Post Your Buy Now Button

The main Buy Now Plus dashboard will now display the button you just created.  You can see how this CTA will appear to the customer by clicking on the preview icon under Actions:

Create a PayPal-style Buy Now button with Stripe, in the  Buy Now Plus dashboard.

If you’re happy with your button, you can navigate back to the main dashboard and select the share icon under Actions. This will launch a dialog containing an embed code: 

Buy Now Plus' website embed code.

Now, head over to your WordPress website, and find the page or post where you want to add your button. Open the page editor and create a shortcode block at the exact location where you want to display it:

The WordPress shortcode block.

You can now paste your embed code into this block and save your changes. Alternatively, you may want to add this button to your site’s recurring elements, such as the header, footer, or sidebar. 

Conclusion 

Buy now buttons can be a simple but effective tool for boosting your sales. Although most popular payment gateways support the buy now feature, adding this may require writing some code or installing additional tools. Thanks to Buy Now Plus, you can implement these payment buttons more easily. 

Let’s recap how you create a buy now button in four quick steps: 

  1. Connect Stripe and Buy Now Plus.
  2. Design your buy now button.
  3. Create an optional thank you page.
  4. Preview and post your button PayPal-style buy now button.

Do you have any questions about creating a PayPal-style buy now button with Stripe? Let us know in the comments section below!

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How to Sell on Social Media With Buy Now Buttons (In 3 Steps)

A buy now button can be a powerful addition to your ecommerce site. However, your ability to generate sales is still reliant on people visiting your site.

Fortunately, with the right tools, you can post your buy now button across multiple platforms, including social media. This strategy enables you to turn some of the biggest global social networks into additional revenue streams. 

In this post, we’ll discuss how buy now buttons can help you boost revenue directly from Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social networks. Then we'll show you how to create a buy now button and share it with your followers in three simple steps. Let’s get started! 

An Introduction to Using Buy Now Buttons on Social Media

A buy now button is a call to action (CTA) that brings customers directly to your checkout page. By removing multiple steps from the purchasing process, buy now buttons can be an effective solution for driving conversions:

A Buy Now button on the Amazon website.

If you create your buttons using our Buy Now Plus service, you can use them across multiple channels, including on social media. By incorporating buy now buttons into your social media posts, you can transform these networks into additional revenue streams and monetize your existing followers

Buy now buttons can minimize the time between customers becoming interested in products and entering the checkout process. In other words, this feature can encourage impulse purchases. 

Time-sensitive social media platforms are particularly great for incentivizing spur-of-the-moment decisions. Someone scanning social media may spot your product and use your buy now button to make a purchase on a whim. 

Every time you post on social media, you have the opportunity to introduce your brand to an entirely new audience. With over 2.7 billion monthly active Facebook users and 69.3 million Twitter users in the U.S. alone, social media is a powerful tool for getting your products in front of more people.

However, there's no need to be content with simply raising brand awareness.  By adding a buy now button to your next post, you may be able to immediately convert these new followers into paying customers. 

How to Sell on Social Media With Buy Now Buttons (In 3 Steps)

Now that you understand more about the potential of leveraging social media to increase sales, let's take a look at how to go about it. Below are three steps you can take to create buy now buttons for all your social media accounts.

Step 1: Sign Up for Stripe and Buy Now Plus Accounts

To get started with Buy Now Plus, you’ll need a Stripe account. If you don’t already have one with this popular payment processor, you can create one on the Stripe website:

The Stripe homepage.

After enrolling with Stripe, head over to the Buy Now Plus login page. You can then select either Login with Stripe or Connect to Stripe: 

The Buy Now Plus service.

Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your Buy Now Plus account, which includes securing your account with a mobile number:

How to sell on social media using the Buy Now Plus service.

During the registration process, you’ll be asked to provide a statement descriptor and shortened descriptor. This information will appear in payment statements, invoices, and receipts.

If a customer doesn’t recognize your descriptor, they may request a chargeback. Therefore, it’s important to provide a clear statement and shortened descriptor:

Add your statement and shortened descriptors in the Buy Now Plus dashboard.

After registering with Buy Now Plus, you’ll be transferred to your dashboard. To create your first button, select Add New. 

Step 2: Create a Buy Now Button

To start, enter a value in the Terms field. This is the text that will appear at the top of your payment screen:

The Buy Now Plus checkout screen.

Payments can either be fixed or variable. Variable purchase buttons are useful if you operate on a “pay what you want” model or accept donations.

You can also set the currency and add a description that will display on your payment screen. Next, specify the Stripe account where you’ll accept payments using the Stripe Account drop-down menu.

You can access additional settings by clicking to expand the Advanced Options section. Here, you can enter the button text.

For fixed payments, it often makes sense to display the cost of the purchase or a generic message such as “Buy now”.  Alternatively, if you’re creating a variable button, you might use a label such as “Donate” or “Buy Me a Coffee”:

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

To provide a better customer experience, you may want to create a dedicated page where customers will be directed following their successful payments.

Similarly, you could point visitors to a different page if they choose to cancel their payments. After building these pages in your WordPress dashboard, you can copy and paste their URLs into the Return URL and Cancel URL fields.

Buy Now Plus has many other settings that are worth exploring in more detail. However, for now, this is all you need to create a simple buy now button. Select Create to continue.

Step 3: Preview and Share Your Button on Social Media

If you navigate to the main Buy Now Plus dashboard, you’ll see the button you just created. You can see how this CTA will appear to customers by clicking on Preview:

Create a Buy Now button, ready to sell on social media.

If you’re happy with your button, you can select the Sharing icon. This will launch a popup containing buttons for all the major social networks, including Facebook and Twitter:

A share button, ready to sell on social media.

Clicking on any of these buttons will create a new draft post containing a link to your Buy Now page. Your followers can send you payments by following this URL:

Sell on social media with Buy Now Plus.

If you’re posting to Twitter, your tweet can easily get lost in the timeline. To help drive conversions, you may want to pin the tweet to the top of your profile: 

Sell on social media with Buy Now buttons.

Buy Now Plus provides dedicated sharing buttons for several social networks. However, if you want to post to an alternative platform, simply click on the sharing icon and copy the provided link. Then you can paste the URL into any location that accepts text, including other social channels. 

Conclusion 

By posting your buy now buttons on social media platforms, you can remove an additional step in the checkout process and enable customers to make purchases without having to explicitly visit your site.

Let’s recap how you can sell on social media in three easy steps: 

  1. Sign up for Stripe and Buy Now Plus accounts.
  2. Create a buy now button.
  3. Preview and share your button on social media.

Do you have any questions about using buy now buttons on social media? Let us know in the comments section below!

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