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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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.

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!

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