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If your product page is incomplete, unhelpful, or outdated, there's a greater your customer will make the wrong decision.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!

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

How to Write a Small Business Plan (4 Key Elements to Include)

When you have a brilliant business idea, it’s tempting to dive straight into making your dream a reality. However, without a plan, you may struggle to motivate your new employees, attract the best partners, or secure investor capital.

This is where a business plan comes in.

By taking the time to create this formal document, you can transform your idea into something tangible, and convince everyone to get behind your organization.

In this post, we’ll explore what a business plan is and why every company should have one. We’ll then discuss the four essential elements of any effective small business strategy. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Small Business Plans (And Why They’re Important)

At a high level, a business plan is a written document that defines what your company is, the activities it performs, its core objectives, and how you’re going to achieve those objectives.

Many startups create this document before beginning operations, to help them explore whether their brilliant idea might actually become a viable business.

This plan can be used internally, but also externally. If you’re seeking investment from third parties, an effective business plan can help you secure funding even if you don't have a proven track record:

An example small business plan.

Although they’re useful tools for startups, many established companies treat their business plans as internal road maps.

By constantly referring to this document, you can evaluate whether you’re on track to achieving your goals, or whether you might need to adjust your operations. For this reason, we recommend that all companies maintain an up-to-date business plan.

This document may also help you realize that your goals have evolved, and that you need to adjust your approach as a result. It’s not uncommon for an established company to create an entirely new business plan to reflect a change of direction.

How to Write a Small Business Plan (4 Key Elements to Include)

Before we get to the list, we thought we'd throw you an idea. While you can save money creating your business plan on your own, it might be worth it in the long run to consult with an expert.

Platforms like Fiverr are a great place to find someone who can help you make sure you're starting out on the right foot.

That said, no two business plans are identical. However, there are some common elements that you’ll typically include in your plan. To help you structure this important document, here are four key elements you may want to incorporate.

1. Executive Summary

This section outlines your company and its mission statement. It’s also a good idea to provide information about your products and services, plus an overview of your leadership, employees, operations, and location.

If you plan to ask for financial backing, you may also want to include a high-level overview of your growth plans and some basic financial information:

An executive summary.

Although all parts of your business plan are important, we recommend prioritizing the executive summary.

This is because busy investors, banks, and potential business partners may decide whether to study your business plan in more detail based on the executive summary alone.

As the saying goes: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Therefore, if your summary doesn’t contain exactly the information a person is looking for, they may dismiss your plan from the first page.

2. Products, Services, and Market Analysis

Next, you can go into detail about your products and services. You’ll typically want to include pricing, benefits to the customer, and your unique selling point (USP).

And if you’re performing any research and development, now is the time to mention it:

A small business plan.

It’s also smart to disclose your plans for intellectual property, such as copyright or patent filings. For some industries, it may also make sense to go into detail regarding the production and manufacturing process.

In addition to defining what your business has to offer, it’s important to demonstrate an understanding of where your products and services will fit within the industry.

This means exploring the competition, their strengths and weaknesses, and how challenging it will be to acquire part of their market share. Throughout this section, it’s also smart to communicate an understanding of the expected demand for your particular products and services.

3. Financial Planning and Budget

Financial planning and future projections are an essential part of any business plan. Even if the document is for internal use only, this section can help you budget and balance your cash flow:

Financial planning and budgeting information.

As part of your financial planning, we recommend including staffing, development, manufacturing, and marketing costs.

If you’re seeking outside investment, you may want to go into more detail, and provide targets and estimates spanning the first few years of your business:

Projected financial data.

While you may feel passionate about your new venture, it’s important to be realistic. An overly optimistic business plan that ignores weaknesses, potential pitfalls, and threats is unlikely to be well-received by potential investors and business partners.

Even worse, if you overestimate your revenue, this can lead to increased overheads and perhaps even a cash flow crisis.

To help keep your plan grounded in reality, only make claims that you can support with hard evidence. You might weave this proof into your business plan or include it as part of an appendix.

As an alternative, you might simply have this data on hand in case a potential investor requests more information. The only rule is that this evidence must exist.

4. An Appendix

An effective business plan will strike a balance between providing enough detail and remaining focused on what the reader needs to know.

Creating a comprehensive, detailed, and extensive plan may feel like you’re setting your business up for success.

However, lengthy documents are notoriously difficult to maintain. By creating an exhaustive business plan now, you may find that this plan is rarely used in practice.

While creating the document, it’s wise to constantly ask yourself whether each piece of information might be better suited to an appendix. In particular, detailed financial forecasts, market research data, product literature, and technical specifications are usually better included in an index.

This ensures that detailed information is on hand for readers who want to delve into the finer points, without distracting from the flow of the document.

Conclusion

We’re not going to pretend that starting a business is easy. However, with some careful planning, you can maximize your chances of turning your brilliant idea into a world-class business.

To set you on the road to success, let’s recap four things to include in your small business plan:

  1. Executive summary
  2. Products, services, and market analysis
  3. Financial planning and budget
  4. An appendix

Do you have any questions about how to write an effective small business plan? Let us know in the comments section below!

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4 Top Tools for Small Businesses Just Starting Out

Finding the right tools is the best way to set your company up for growth and success. However, as a small business, it can feel like your options are limited.

Fortunately, there are plenty of world-class tools that cater to the unique needs (and budgets) of brand-new businesses. By being a savvy shopper, there’s no reason you can’t access the same features and firepower as established enterprises.

In this post, we’ll share advice on how to find the best software for your startup. We’ll then suggest four of our favorite tools for small businesses just starting out. Let’s dive in!

How to Choose the Best Tools for Your Small Business

As a new business, it’s essential that you catch the attention of potential new customers, convert them into qualified leads, and ultimately secure your first sales. To achieve all of this, you’ll need the right tools.

However, as a brand-new business, you may initially be working to a tight budget. To minimize your running costs, you might want to try free software over premium options. Some proprietary tools even offer entry-level or free plans with usage restrictions.

For example, the popular Mailchimp marketing automation platform is free for up to 2,000 contacts:

Mailchimp's range of subscription plans.

Another example is the Hootsuite social media management platform. This marketing tool has a single-user plan that’s perfect for solo entrepreneurs.

For small businesses just starting out, these plans provide access to professional tools without requiring you to pay top dollar for features you don’t currently need.

And the majority of these tools are scalable. As your business grows, you can upgrade to a more expensive plan without the added stress and worry associated with learning a new tool or migrating all of your data.

With almost 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S., it’s no surprise there are plenty of tools specifically catering to startups. To make sure you’re getting exactly the features you need, you may want to opt for tools that target smaller businesses rather than a general user base.

4 Top Tools for Small Businesses Just Starting Out

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of startups don’t make it to their first birthdays. Let’s give your business the best possible chance of bucking the trend!

Here are four tools that can set your brand-new venture up for success.

1. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a top tool for small businesses just starting out.

When you launch a business website, your traffic will be a flat zero. The quickest way to get off the starting block is to appeal to search engines.

With over 53% of all web traffic originating from organic search, a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can take you from zero to hundreds (or even thousands) of eager customers.

Yoast SEO has everything you need to optimize your business website for those all-important search engines. Every time you add a new page or post, you can use Yoast SEO to specify the keyword(s) that you want this content to rank for:

The Yoast SEO tool for small businesses.

Yoast will then provide actionable advice on how to optimize the web page for the specified keyword or phrase. In this way, Yoast SEO can increase your chances of scoring Google’s coveted number-one spot.

Features:

  • Readability and SEO analysis
  • Tools to optimize your Google previews
  • Automated technical SEO improvements
  • Ability to boost your branding with title and meta description templating
  • Full control over your site’s breadcrumbs

Pricing: The plugin is free, with a premium version available.

2. Mailchimp

Top tools for small businesses include the Mailchimp platform.

The number of email users is forecast to reach 4.6 billion by 2025, and those people are spending a lot of time in their inboxes.

According to Adobe, the average American spends over five hours a day checking their inboxes. This makes email marketing a powerful way to promote your startup.

You can use Mailchimp to design beautiful, engaging messages using a straightforward drag-and-drop editor. This is ideal if you don’t have access to a graphic designer or a programmer:

The Mailchimp email editor.

You can also use Mailchimp to create automated email campaigns. This can be a life-saver for busy small business owners, who may not have the time to send a personalized message to every contact.

Features:

Pricing: Various subscriptions are available, including a free plan that’s perfect for small businesses.

3. Google Analytics

The Google Analytics platform.

Google Analytics provides detailed insight into the people who are visiting your website. This can be invaluable for understanding your audience and the kind of content that generates the most engagement.

Armed with this information, you can fine-tune your marketing and advertising strategies, and optimize every part of your site to drive conversions:

The top tools for small businesses include Google Analytics.

Google Analytics can also reveal how people find your site (for example, via organic search or by following a referral link). You can then focus your efforts on the channels that are proving the most lucrative.

Alternatively, you might decide that it makes more sense to focus on the channels that are currently underperforming.

Features:

  • Custom reports
  • Event tracking
  • Site speed report
  • Site search tracking
  • Ecommerce tracking

Pricing: The core Google Analytics platform is free. There’s also a premium Analytics 360 subscription available.

4. Buy Now Plus

Buy Now Plus is one of the top tools for small businesses.


In 2020, worldwide ecommerce sales totaled $4.28 trillion. If you want to tap into this lucrative market, you should aim for a seamless shopping experience.

Buy now buttons can be powerful tools for providing a stress-free purchasing journey and boosting your sales. Today, these simple-but-effective buttons are widely used by some of the biggest companies in the world, including Amazon:

A buy now button on the Amazon website.

If you want to learn from Amazon’s success, you may want to take a look at Buy Now Plus. You can use our free service to quickly and easily create an Amazon-style buy now button:

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

You can then deploy this button across multiple platforms. This includes all of your social media accounts and your email marketing messages.

Features:

Pricing: You can sign up for free. Note that Buy Now Plus charges a minimal 2% fee for each sale.

Conclusion

Starting a new business is never easy. However, the right tools can help you secure those all-important first customers and sales, and set your business on the path to success.

If you’re not sure where to start, let’s quickly recap our top four tools for small businesses that are just starting out:

  1. Yoast SEO: Make sure your site is appearing in relevant search results with this free WordPress plugin.
  2. Mailchimp: Use a popular mailing platform with a focus on automation that is perfect for the busy small business owner.
  3. Google Analytics: Get insight into your audience and learn how to drive more people to your site with this widely-used analytics service.
  4. Buy Now Plus: Ensure that the purchasing process feels effortless by creating buy now buttons for your website, social media accounts, and email marketing campaigns.

Do you have questions about any of the tools mentioned on this list? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

How to Start Your Own Affiliate Marketing Program (In 3 Steps)

It might seem like influencers are everywhere these days. However, you're not just seeing things – working with these representatives is a popular and effective way to promote a brand.

You might be wondering how to leverage this power by starting your own affiliate marketing program.

Fortunately, the process doesn't have to be difficult. By following a few best practices and focusing on the essential elements, you can build a profitable affiliate program for your brand.

In this article, we'll cover a few reasons you might want to consider starting an affiliate marketing program. Then we'll show you how to create your own in three simple steps. Let's get to it!

Why You Might Want to Start an Affiliate Marketing Program

An affiliate marketing program is a network of influencers. You connect with respected people within your niche, and they promote your products to their followers. In return, you pay them a commission from any resulting sales.

There are many benefits to running an affiliate program. For one thing, it's a simple way to spread the word about your products. You also don't have to pay unless a sale is made, so using influencers is cost-effective.

Influencers also get a lucrative deal. On top of commissions, affiliate links can be a passive and flexible income stream.

That means these marketers can promote your content even if they've shifted to remote work. Additionally, the influencer's audience might appreciate an informed recommendation.

With advantages for all parties, it's no wonder that affiliate marketing is a booming business. Statistics show that this market is expected to reach a value of nearly $8.2 billion by 2022. That means getting started now will be an investment in your brand's future.

How to Start Your Own Affiliate Marketing Program (In 3 Steps)

We'll now use this simple guide as a kickstart for affiliate marketing. If you're interested in promoting your business with affiliate marketing, chances are you already have a website up and running.

If not, you'll need a basic WordPress site ready before you get started with the Easy Affiliate plugin, which we'll be using in this tutorial.

Step 1: Install and Activate Easy Affiliate

Starting an affiliate marketing program can be a bit complex. It can be hard to juggle links, payments, and ads.

That's why we highly recommend you use an affiliate program management product, such as Easy Affiliate, to take care of everything for you:

Easy Affiliate homepage.

Easy Affiliate enables you to host your affiliate program on a WordPress site. It's a simple way to integrate referral marketing infrastructure into your page.

Some other powerful features that you'll unlock with Easy Affiliate include:

  • Detailed progress reports to help you perfect your approach
  • Email marketing to spread the word about your program
  • One-click payouts to make commissions easy for you and your influencers

Additionally, Easy Affiliate doesn't charge any transaction fees. Once you purchase your plan, there are no additional hidden costs. The only per-transaction fee you'll pay is to PayPal, which the plugin uses to process payments.

The program also carries a 14-day money-back guarantee, so it's safe to give it a try if you're on the fence.

First you'll want to decide on your pricing plan. The options are Basic, Plus, and Pro. We suggest starting with Basic if you're new to affiliate marketing. However, Plus and Pro might also be worth considering if you have a few sites.

After you've made your choice, download Easy Affiliate. Be sure to grab your license key as well, because you'll need it to receive crucial plugin updates. Then install and activate the plugin.

You might also want to take some time at this point to consider your strategy. Understanding the essential elements for affiliate beginners can set you up for success.

Step 2: Customize Your Main Settings

Before you get started, there are a few settings you'll want to adjust. We'll take you through the most important ones. However, you might want to thumb through Easy Affiliate's helpful articles for more information.

Let's begin with the basic settings. You can find them in your WordPress dashboard under Easy Affiliate > Settings. Your screen will differ slightly depending on your plan:

The main settings for Easy Affiliate.

If you'd rather use the built-in setup wizard, simply scroll down to the bottom of the page to find that option. You can also add elements such as your basic business info.

If you keep scrolling, you'll find an option to decide which pages will act as your affiliate pages. These pages will generate automatically when you add Easy Affiliate. However, you can also edit them from this area.

Next up, we'll take a look at the Commissions tab:

The Easy Affiliate commissions tab under settings..

Here you'll decide on your affiliate program commission structure.

You can choose to pay out commissions as a percentage of sales or as a fixed rate. Your payout settings are also in this tab. Feel free to take your time here – payments are essential for both you and your influencers.

If you want to add integrations, check out the Ecommerce and Integrations tabs. For example, you can set up one-click PayPal functions under Ecommerce.

Finally, head over over to the Advanced tab:

The Easy Affiliate advanced settings tab.

It has several useful fields, but we'll focus on the essentials for now. We encourage you to set up email notifications to keep affiliates in the loop.

Additionally, you'll need to adjust international settings if you work on a global level.

Step 3: Prepare Resources for Your Affiliates

Finally, let's get to the heart of your program: your affiliates! Supporting your influencers is the best way to help them succeed.

On top of showing them how to do things like accept credit cards without a website, you can also provide other resources.

Remain on the page from the last step. This time, navigate to the Affiliates tab:

The Affiliate tab for Easy Affiliates.

First up is Registration Type. This is where you'll determine whether affiliates can join automatically, will need to apply, or will need direct administrative approval.

For your first program, we recommend requiring an application. This will help you screen for the best candidates directly.

The Form Fields section enables you to decide what information you'll collect from influencers. You can also make it so that users are automatically added as affiliates – which is perfect if you've built your WordPress site solely for your program.

Finally, you can change the affiliate dashboard. We suggest that you take the time to add your brand's colors and a custom welcome message. Doing so is a simple yet essential part of any new website branding checklist.

Next up, we'll change gears. Easy Affiliate enables you to expand your brand with professional-looking links and banners. Go to Easy Affiliate > Creatives > Add New:

The creative creation screen for Easy Affiliates.

Simply fill in the fields to create your new link. If you'd like to add a visual element, choose Banner from the Type drop-down menu. You'll then see an option to upload an image.

Try to make several links and banners. This can help make your marketing varied yet consistent. Once you've made a few creative assets, you can provide them to affiliates so they can advertise your business in places such as their social media accounts.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing spending is on the rise. That means there's a lot of potential for using influencers to advertise your company. Fortunately, starting your own affiliate marketing program can be simple with the right tools.

In this article, we showed you three steps to begin your affiliate program:

  1. Choose and install a pricing plan from Easy Affiliate.
  2. Customize the main settings, such as the commission structure.
  3. Help your influencers succeed with a clear structure and dynamic assets.

Do you have any questions about starting your own affiliate marketing program? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

4 Tips From Successful Small Business Owners

Many people dream of becoming their own boss. However, with 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S., your new venture will likely face some stiff competition.

By making smart decisions early on, you can give your business the best possible chance of finding a place in today’s crowded market.

Regardless of your entrepreneurial idea, there are several universal best practices that can set you up for success.

In this post, we’ll share four tips from successful small business owners. We’ll look at how to drive more customers to your website, reduce those sky-high cart abandonment rates, and even explore how your closest competitors can actually help your business succeed. Let’s get started! 

1. Prioritize Customer Support

Customer service is the direct connection between you and your customers. Get it right, and you’ll have no problem transforming one-time buyers into loyal repeat customers.

When it comes to delivering five star customer service, speed is everything. According to research, 66% of shoppers state that valuing their time is the most important factor in customer service. In fact, when they reach out for help, 82% of consumers expect a response in ten minutes or less. 

If you’re going to meet these expectations, it’s vital that you make customer service a priority. However, as a busy business owner, it may not always be feasible to respond to support requests immediately, especially if you don’t have a large customer service department. 

If the ten-minutes-or-less rule feels impossible, a chatbot may be the answer. With the help of a bot, your customers will have instant access to support at any time of the day or night. 

These bots can be a lifesaver for overstretched small businesses, but they also appear to be popular among consumers. According to research, over 67% of shoppers used a chatbot in 2019. 

There are various WordPress chatbots to choose from, including the Tidio plugin. This popular chatbot is customizable, so you can update its User Interface (UI) to reflect your company’s branding:

Many small business owners choose to use a chatbot plugin.

Alternatively, you can create your own chatbot. This may sound complex, but there are services to help you build your bot, including the Botsify platform and HubSpot’s marketing plugin:

The HubSpot WordPress plugin.

Self-help resources can be another way to provide around-the-clock support. Online documentation, FAQs, knowledge bases, and video tutorials are all popular self-help methods.

2. Learn From Your Customers

No matter how much time and effort you invest into your small business, there’s always room for improvement. To keep moving forward, you'll need to be willing to learn from your customers.

This may involve asking consumers for their feedback. Wherever possible, it’s smart to integrate these feedback requests into your normal workflows. For example, you might use your email automation software to request a product review every time a customer makes a purchase. 

Some customer-focused tools can even request feedback automatically. For instance, it’s not uncommon for chatbots to ask the customer to rate their interaction when they try to exit the chat window. This can generate valuable information, which you can then use to improve your small business. 

However, this information can be biased. Humans are subconsciously influenced by social conventions, and may tailor their feedback to align with the expected response. 

For this reason, you may also want to monitor your audience using a tool such as Google Analytics. This can provide an insight into subconscious customer behavior, and how users respond to your content and campaigns:

Many small business owners use a tool such as Google Analytics.

By deploying these two techniques simultaneously, you can gain a deeper understanding of your target audience. This is essential for improving the overall customer experience and optimizing your business website.

3. Spy on Other Small Business Owners

Chances are your business has several close competitors. While these organizations may feel like the bane of your existence, they can also be a valuable learning tool. 

With over 40% of revenue for most stores originating from organic traffic, it’s important to get your SEO right. You can set yourself up for SEO success by using a tool such as Keyword Explorer to discover the terms your competitors are ranking for.

You can then analyze those high-performing keywords and identify any that are relevant to your business:

The Moz Keyword Explorer tool.

By targeting these keywords, you may be able to improve your search engine rankings.

Backlinks are another valuable way to boost your traffic and secure extra sales. You can identify competitor content that has generated lots of backlinks using a tool such as Link Explorer:

Link Explorer can be a useful tool for small business owners.

This can help you pinpoint topics that generate the most buzz. If you can produce similar content to a higher standard, then you stand a good chance of earning valuable backlinks.

Once you’ve refined your SEO and content marketing strategies, it’s time to turn your attention to social media. With over 2.7 billion monthly active users, Facebook can be an effective way to reach new customers.  

If you’ve created a Facebook page for your small business, you’re off to a good start. However, it’s not enough to simply post content and hope for the best. It’s also important to identify the days and times your customers are online, and the content that generates the most engagement.

You can use Facebook’s Pages to Watch to record when your competitors post, how often they post, and the subsequent engagement. You can then use this data to create a more effective social media strategy, without having to learn through trial and error.

4. Simplify the Purchasing Process

Cart abandonment rates are a serious problem for online businesses. Some industries even report a 96.88% abandonment rate! There’s also evidence to suggest that some customers may fill their baskets with no intention of completing the purchase, making it the digital equivalent of window shopping

This is where buy now buttons come in. These simple-but-effective buttons completely eliminate the add to basket stage, and whisk the customer directly to the checkout. This gives the consumer less time to reconsider their purchase, which is great news for your conversion rates:

Am example of a Buy Now button.

You can create a range of high-converting buy now buttons using our free Buy Now Plus service.

To create your first buy now button, just register for a free Buy Now Plus account. If you already a existing Stripe account, you'll be prompted to connect the two accounts in the sign up process. If you don't have Stripe yet, you can automatically create a new one during the signup process.

Then, just create your buy now first button to publish on your online store, website, or even your social media platform. One of the best things about Buy Now Plus is that you don't even have to run a website to use it!

Conclusion 

Launching a new business isn’t easy, and the line between success and failure can be fine. However, with the right tools, techniques, and know-how, you can achieve start-up success.

Let’s quickly recap four tips from successful small business owners: 

  1. Prioritize customer support by using chatbots.
  2. Learn from your customers by requesting feedback.
  3. Spy on other small business owners by doing keyword research.
  4. Simplify the purchasing process by using Buy Now Plus.

Do you have any questions about how to grow your small business? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

How to Keep It Simple and Keep Your Customers (3 Tips)

In today’s always on, always connected world, you have more opportunities than ever to communicate with your customers. However, you also have more chances to overwhelm and even alienate your target audience.

With the typical internet user suffering from information overload, you may be able to stand out from the crowd by doing less. By stripping your marketing down to its essentials, you can help even the most overwhelmed shopper make a smart purchasing decision and inspire customer loyalty. 

In this post, we’ll discuss why keeping it simple may be the key to retaining your customers. We’ll then share three tips on how to do less while achieving more. Let’s get started! 

Why Keeping It Simple May Be the Key to Retaining Your Customers

When trying to appeal to today’s tech-savvy consumer, more isn’t always better. There’s a misconception that the more content you provide, the greater your chances will be of holding the customer’s attention.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that a constant stream of marketing campaigns is the only way to grow your audience. However, this may not always work.

For many shoppers, the sheer amount of online content can be completely overwhelming. If you bombard people with even more information, you may be putting them off rather than drawing them in.

With this in mind, it makes sense to focus on decision simplicity. This is where you provide your customers with just enough data to make an informed purchasing decision – and no more.

For people who are already feeling overwhelmed, this can make your business far more appealing than a competitor who is pumping out content 24/7. 

How to Keep It Simple and Keep Your Customers (3 Tips)

While it’s tempting to try and wow the customer, information overload is a very real phenomenon. By taking a less-is-more approach, you can cut through all of the noise and help your audience make stress-free purchasing decisions.

Let's take a look at how to keep it simple and keep your customers, in three easy steps. 

1. Personalize the Customer Experience

When you’re trying to appeal to your entire customer base, it’s easy to overwhelm the individual with irrelevant information. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, you may want to focus on delivering a personalized experience.

This can help minimize the amount of content the visitor has to deal with, which can simplify the purchasing decision. 

If you want to provide a personalized shopping experience, it might make sense to offer customers a membership service. This is often essential for creating a complete record of the individual’s preferences, habits, and behavior.

All of this data is invaluable for delivering a highly personalized, highly persuasive customer experience.

There are a number of membership plugins available for WordPress, but MemberPress is leading option

Keep your customers, using a membership plugin such as MemberPress.

You can use this plugin to display different content depending on the shopper’s role and capabilities. This can be a quick and easy way to hide information that’s irrelevant to the individual, and prioritize the content that’s more likely to make them convert. 

Meanwhile, if you’re using the popular WooCommerce ecommerce platform, there are a number of add-ons that can help you tailor your website to each user. This includes WooCommerce Customer History:

The WooCommerce History add-on can help you keep your customers.

The Customer History add-on records how each visitor browses your store, and maintains a full purchase history log. You can then use this information to strip out all the unnecessary content and create a more streamlined purchasing journey. 

2. Simplify the Purchasing Journey

By reducing the number of screens the shopper has to navigate, you can reduce the amount of information they come into contact with. This is where a buy now button can be your secret weapon. 

These call to action (CTA) buttons promise to simplify the purchasing journey by transporting the customer directly to the checkout page. You can quickly and easily create this button using our free Buy Now Plus service.

Simply connect Buy Now Plus to your existing Stripe account, or create a new free Stripe account right in the Buy Now Plus setup process. Then you’re ready to create a wide range of high-converting buy now buttons:

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

After creating a button, you can even deploy it across multiple platforms. This helps you provide a consistent and seamless experience regardless of whether the customer is making a purchase from your website, social media accounts, or marketing emails.

By providing this kind of omnichannel shopping experience, you can make the purchasing process feel effortless and intuitive across multiple platforms. This can help you improve your customer retention rates. 

3. Segment Your Email Campaigns

According to Adobe’s Email Usage Study, Americans spend over five hours a day checking their emails. That’s a huge window of time where you could be promoting your products.

However, most businesses are fully aware of this opportunity, so your typical shopper is probably already drowning in marketing emails. If you add to the pressure, it’s unlikely to end well. The consumer might ignore your messages or unsubscribe from your email list.

Therefore, it’s important to minimize the number of times you contact the customer, while still using email marketing to drive conversions. The best way to achieve this tricky balancing act is by using segmentation. 

A segmented email campaign is where you send targeted messages to your subscribers based on their characteristics or actions, such as their purchase histories. This enables you to replace multiple generic messages with a single email that speaks to the individual shopper’s needs. 

Even if the customer is feeling swamped, highly-targeted messages can still spark a positive reaction. In fact, segmented email campaigns experience 74.53% higher click rates compared to non-segmented campaigns, and companies report a 760% increase in revenue from segmented emails.

All of the major email automation programs support segmentation. Many WordPress plugins also have built-in support for targeted emails, including the free MailPoet plugin:

The MailPoet plugin can help you send targeted emails.

MailPoet comes with an easy-to-use newsletter builder and a selection of responsive templates. It also enables you to send automatic WooCommerce emails.

For instance, you can welcome your new customers, send emails to shoppers who purchased a particular product, and reach out to those who abandoned their carts.

Conclusion 

When it comes to selling your products, the customer needs just enough information to make an informed purchasing decision – and not a single word more.

While it’s tempting to try to dazzle your audience, your typical internet user is already suffering from information overload and won’t thank you for adding to it.

Let’s quickly recap how you can avoid overwhelming your customers: 

  1. Personalize the shopping experience by creating a membership site with MemberPress.
  2. Simplify the purchasing journey by using buy now buttons with Buy Now Plus.
  3. Segment your email campaigns by using a WordPress plugin like MailPoet.

Do you have any questions about how to keep it simple and keep your customers? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

5 Small Businesses You Can Start for Under $200

If you're tired of working for an employer, you may be looking to start your own business. However, this can be expensive, with many small businesses costing at least $2,000 to set up. If you don't have that kind of capital, you may be looking for more affordable options.

Fortunately, there are plenty of business ventures you can explore without spending a lot of money. You can tap into your creative side, share your professional expertise, or coach other people.

By identifying your skills and strengths, you can monetize them and start generating income.

In this guide, we'll take a look at five different small businesses that you can start for under $200. We'll also outline the skills and resources you will need for each one. Let's get started!

1. Consulting

Many companies hire experts to help them with their business strategies. If you have expertise in a particular area, like finance or law, you can offer your consulting services to different companies in your industry.

For instance, Bain & Company is an international consulting firm that works with organizations in various industries, including finance, healthcare, and retail:

Homepage of a consulting company called Bain & Company

In the United States, freelance consultants make an average salary of $78,922. Therefore, if you have the skills and knowledge to offer, you could potentially set up a very profitable business.

To get started, you'll need to set up a website to promote your services. WordPress equipped with a membership plugin is a great option.

You'll also have to spend some money on a domain name and web hosting service. However, many hosting companies offer very affordable plans for first-time buyers.

2. Tutoring

Tutoring can be a lucrative business if you're qualified in a particular field. For example, you could teach a foreign language to students or professionals.

Tutors make an average of $18 per hour. However, if you have a degree you may be able to charge much more.

To get started, you can sign up with an established tutoring company, such as Tutor.com:

Homepage of tutoring website Tutor.com

You could also create your own website to advertise your services. Remember that you'll need to pay for a domain name and a hosting service to keep it running.

As a tutor, you can create your own lesson plans and host your lessons online or in person. You don't need a large investment to set up this business, and you can purchase additional resources like textbooks as your company grows.

3. Freelancing

Freelancing is one of the most flexible businesses you can start. Rather than working for one company, you can deal directly with different clients and work on your own terms.

There are many freelancing options, including writing, blogging, graphic design, programming, and working as a personal assistant. You can also draw upon your skills and experience from previous jobs .

Freelancers make an average of $21 per hour. However, if you are an expert in your field, you may be able to charge much higher rates.

There are various ways to find jobs as a freelancer. For instance, you can join an established freelancing marketplace like Fiverr:

Fiverr homepage

Alternatively, you could try to source your own clients through advertising and reaching out to your personal network. You might also want to set up a LinkedIn account and pitch your services to potential clients.

4. Selling eBooks and Other Digital Products

If you have writing talents and great ideas, you could make money by publishing ebooks or other digital materials. You can write in any genre, from short novels to travel guides, depending on your interests.

As the creator, you can set your own prices for your ebooks. In 2020, customers purchased more than 191 million ebooks in the United States, so there's a large market for this material:

The eBooks homepage

Creating and selling ebooks doesn't have to be expensive. You can create the template for free through an application like Canva. Then you can approach publishers or use a self-publishing service like Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing.

Alternatively, you could sell your digital products on your site. We recommend using our Buy Now Plus service to add high-converting buy now buttons to your product pages:

The Buy Now Plus homepage

Our program is free to use and very easy to install. Moreover, Buy Now Plus is powered by Stripe and charges a flat 3% fee on your transactions.

If you want to maximize your ebook sales on the cheap, you might want to consider setting up an affiliate program. To do this, you can use a plugin like Easy Affiliate, which helps you create a self-hosted affiliate program and manage your affiliates from a user-friendly dashboard.

5. Fitness Coaching

If you love fitness or have professional accreditation, you could create an online fitness program. For example, you could upload videos of yoga routines and workouts:

The Glo fitness website homepage

At the end of 2019, the online fitness market was worth approximately $6 million. Analysts predict it will grow in value to $59 million by 2027, so there's an opportunity to make significant profits in this industry.

An effective way to make money from your online courses is to build a fitness membership site.

With this type of site, you can upload instructional videos and customize your subscription settings so that only paid members can access this content. Additionally, you can offer a discounted or free trial period to attract new business.

Conclusion

Starting your own business doesn’t need to cost a fortune. By capitalizing on your existing skills and interests, you could quickly set up a small business and start making money.

Let's recap our main ideas for starting a business for under $200:

  1. Offer your consulting services to other companies.
  2. Give online lessons to students and professionals.
  3. Freelance in your area of expertise, such as web design and photography.
  4. Write e-books and sell them on your site, using Buy Now Plus.
  5. Create an online fitness program and set up a membership site.

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

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

Join the Great Resignation (Start Your Ecommerce Business in 3 Steps)

In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a record number of resignations. You may dream of joining the great resignation, but quitting your job is never a decision to take lightly.

Fortunately, there is an industry that’s going from strength to strength. By starting your own ecommerce business in 2021, you can finally become your own boss without feeling like you’re taking a massive gamble.

In this post, we’ll look at why more people are quitting their jobs than ever before. We’ll then show you how to start your ecommerce business in three easy (and affordable) steps. Let’s get started!

An Overview of the Great Resignation (And Why You May Want to Join It)

The number of people quitting their jobs is on the rise. There are many reasons why so many employees are joining the great resignation, including burnout.

While exhaustion has always been an issue within the workforce, 67% of employees feel that burnout has worsened over the course of the pandemic. For tired and overworked employees, a change of career may seem like the perfect solution. 

The seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired many people to re-evaluate their lives, including their jobs. The historic rise in resignations could signify that employees are taking actionable steps to improve their work situation. 

Whatever the reasons for it, this trend shows no signs of slowing down. The job site Monster reports that 95% of US employees are currently considering a career change. If you’re one of these people, then it may be time to start your own ecommerce business. 

While the pandemic forced many physical stores to close their doors, it also sparked an online shopping revolution. In 2021, over 2.14 billion people are forecast to purchase goods and services online. That’s a lot of potential customers for your new venture.

In fact, with the global population expected to reach 7.87 billion people in 2021, these figures suggest you could be promoting your online products and services to around 27% of the world’s inhabitants. 

If you already run a website, you could add ecommerce functionality to your existing content. For example, if you run a successful membership site, you might consider creating a members-only store. This can be a way to monetize your audience and turn all of your hard work into profit. 

Join the Great Resignation (Start Your Ecommerce Business in 3 Steps)

According to Microsoft, 41% of people plan to change jobs in 2021. If you’re eager to join them, then starting your own ecommerce business may be the answer. Here’s how to become your own boss in three easy steps.

Step 1: Find Your Niche

Running an ecommerce business offers many opportunities, but there’s also lots of competition. With more and more online stores opening every day, you may get the best results by focusing on a specific niche. 

Choosing a niche immediately reduces the competition and gives you a stronger brand identity. In particular, it helps differentiate your venture from ecommerce giants such as Amazon, which already excels at being all things to all people:

The Amazon ecommerce site.

By promoting products that have huge appeal to a very specific audience, you can often achieve more conversions and a higher Return On Investment (ROI). With this niche approach, you can also tailor every part of your business to speak to the deep needs of your target audience

If you don’t already have a niche in mind, then the next step is identifying some products that you’re passionate about.

By specializing in items that you’re genuinely interested in, you can tap into an authentic drive and enthusiasm that will influence your business. For example, this passion can enhance your marketing and advertising campaigns.

While it’s a good idea to keep your business tightly focused, it’s important to find a big enough niche to generate healthy revenue.

Here, you can use tools such as Google Trends to evaluate the level of interest in the products you’re considering stocking:

The Google Trends dashboard can help you join the great resignation.

When crunching these numbers, keep in mind that you’ll want to grow your business over time. This means there should be enough interest to support your future expansion. 

Step 2: Create a Business Plan

A business plan is a written document that defines what your ecommerce business is, the activities it’ll perform, and its core objectives. It also details how you’re going to achieve those aims. 

By creating a business plan now, you can verify that your grand idea has the potential to be a viable ecommerce company before you start pouring time and money into it.

This document can also help you secure funding without a proven track record if you're seeking external investment. 

Every business plan is different, but most documents start with an executive summary. This outlines your ecommerce business and its mission statement. 

Next, you’ll detail your products and pricing, how your business benefits the customer, and your Unique Selling Point (USP). If you’re focusing on a niche, this is the place to stress that you’re offering a specialist, focused service.

This is also the perfect opportunity to demonstrate a deep understanding of your target audience and prove the demand for your products.

Even if this document is for internal use only, it’s a good idea to include a section on financial planning. This can help you budget and balance your cash flow. Otherwise, you risk negative cash flow completely derailing your operation.

3. Generate Buy Now Buttons

It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that your new ecommerce venture requires a website. While many successful businesses do operate an online store, this isn’t a necessity. 

Designing, developing, and launching a digital shop requires a significant amount of financial investment. This includes purchasing web hosting, securing a domain name, and potentially even hiring specialist designers and developers.

If you want to minimize your running costs, then you can operate an entire ecommerce business and sell anything from anywhere, thanks to Buy Now Plus:

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

You can use our free online service to generate a wide range of buy now buttons. Buy Now Plus operates on top of the popular Stripe payment gateway, so you can even accept credit card payments without an online store:

The Stripe checkout can be useful tool for joining the great resignation.

After creating these buttons, you can post them to any location that accepts text, including all major social media platforms.

You can even sign up for an email automation service such as ActiveCampagn, and run email campaigns featuring your buy now buttons.

Conclusion

Quitting your job is never a decision to take lightly. However, if you’ve always dreamed of running your own ecommerce business, then now may be the perfect opportunity. 

Let’s quickly recap how to launch your own ecommerce venture and join the great resignation:

  1. Find your niche.
  2. Create a business plan.
  3. Generate buy now buttons, using a tool such as Buy Now Plus.

Do you have any other questions about how to start a successful ecommerce business? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

4 Ways Accepting Cash Can Cost Your Business

Statistics show that modern consumers overwhelmingly prefer to pay by card, yet millions of small businesses still only accept cash. As a result, these businesses are missing out on an estimated 11.8 million customers.

For many retailers, the decision to operate on a cash-only policy is based on the belief that it will save them money. They assume it will enable them to avoid hefty card payment processing fees.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. On the contrary, accepting cash can actually hurt your bottom line.

In this article, we’ll reveal four ways that accepting cash can cost your business money. Then we’ll discuss how you can avoid these risks by going cashless with the help of Buy Now Plus. Let’s get started!

1. It Can Lead to Revenue Loss

According to recent research, 73% of customers said they’d leave a store without making a purchase if there were no card payment terminal and they didn’t have cash on hand. This is especially significant now, given that people are carrying less cash than they were pre-pandemic.

Not only that, but nearly half of Australians feel inconvenienced if they can’t pay by card. The upshot of this is clear: if you’re not offering a card payment option, you’re not giving your customers what they want.

This can indirectly impact your revenue, since customers who feel they’ve had a negative experience are less likely to act as brand advocates for your business. They might even leave a negative review, thus deterring other customers from doing business with you.

Even those customers who are happy to pay with cash tend to spend less when doing so, as they feel more connected to the purchase. Physically handing over cash feels a lot more “real” than just touching a piece of plastic to a payment terminal.

2. It Exposes You to Increased Security Risks

Accepting cash can expose you to additional security risks that may cost your business money. These include:

  • Accidental acceptance of counterfeit notes. Providing your staff with adequate training to detect and reject counterfeit notes takes time, which increases labor costs.
  • Internal theft. Accepting cash and holding it on your premises puts you at risk of internal theft by your team members.
  • Change scams. Some customers may attempt “change scams”, in which they try to confuse you or your staff into giving them more change than they’re entitled to.
  • Break-ins/robberies. Holding cash makes your premises a more attractive target for burglars. This doesn’t just put you and your staff in physical danger; it also exposes you to significant financial risks.

Aside from the above. you may also have to spend more money on security-related costs, such as:

  • Theft-prevention measures. This includes CCTV, alarms, theft prevention officers/security guards, etc.
  • Courier costs. Cash deposits of large amounts need to be handled securely. In many cases, this means paying a secure courier to transport it safely to the bank.
  • Higher insurance costs. Handling cash may increase your business' insurance premiums.

Not accepting cash payments minimizes the above risks or avoids them completely. A recent report shows that the risk of robberies decreases with the use of digital payments.

3. There Are Hidden Costs of Handling Cash

The idea that accepting cash is cheap is a myth. Many business owners think that accepting card payments is expensive. However, the reality is that handling cash costs a lot more.

Credit card processing fees typically range from 1–3%, whereas cash handling costs around 5–15%, according to research from IHL Group. These hidden costs of cash handling come from:

  • Higher labor costs. Labor is one of the biggest costs of handling cash. Employees must spend time giving out change, calculating floats, keeping records, and performing other banking-related tasks.
  • Working capital tied up in business cash floats. This could be reduced significantly if transactions were handled electronically.
  • Administrative errors. Humans aren’t perfect – we all make mistakes from time to time. Unfortunately, simple administrative errors can cost your business money.
  • Bank fees for cash deposits. Some banks charge business customers fees for large cash deposits.

These costs quickly add up. However, once again, you can avoid all of them by offering digital payment methods instead of cash.

4. It Leads to Operational Inefficiencies

Finally, accepting cash can also lead to operational inefficiencies that eat into your potential profits. For example, dealing with cash at checkout takes much longer than processing contactless transactions.

This can lead to longer lines and limit your ability to serve as many customers as possible – and fewer customers served means fewer sales.

If you don’t have enough change on-hand in your store, you might have to temporarily close the store (or at least, leave it understaffed) while you go out to get some. In the time you’re closed, you might miss out on potential sales.

How to Go Cashless Using Buy Now Buttons

Businesses can avoid the drawbacks of accepting cash by going cashless. However, if you’re a small business owner, the prospect of implementing cashless payment technology may seem a little daunting.

Don’t worry – it’s not as complicated or costly as you might think.

If you want to start accepting digital payments online, the simplest way to do so is by using Buy Now Plus to add a buy now button to your business website or social pages:

Screenshot of the Buy Now Plus homepage

Our Buy Now Plus service makes it easy to sell your products or services anywhere on the internet through stylish buy now buttons. It offers super-low fees, and only takes a few minutes to set up.

All you have to do is sign up for free. If you already have a free Stripe account, it will be connected during the signup process automatically. And if you don't have a free Stripe account, the signup process will automatically set you up with one.

Image of Buy Now Plus sign up page in which the user connects their account to Stripe

After that, you can create your buy now button and add it to any compatible platform using the provided embed code:

The 'create a new button' interface on Buy Now Plus

To start accepting card payments in-store, you'll most likely want to use a (POS) card payment terminal. There are many different POS suppliers on the market, so you'll have to shop around to find the best deal.

Most will quote you a basic rate for credit and debit card transactions. This might be a percentage of the transaction value (e.g. 2%) or a fixed rate.

Conclusion

Accepting cash might seem like a smart business move, but it can actually hurt your bottom line. Fortunately, going cashless isn’t as hard as you might think.

You can use Buy Now Plus to add buttons to your website or social pages, and start accepting payments online in minutes.

Let’s quickly recap the main ways accepting cash can cost your business money:

  1. It can lead to revenue loss.
  2. It exposes you to increased security risks.
  3. There are hidden costs of handling cash.
  4. It can lead to operational inefficiencies.

Does your business plan on going cashless this year? Let us know in the comments section below!

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