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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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